LONDON: Liverpool moved a step closer to the Premier League title with a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield last night that moved them within two points of securing the championship.
Juergen Klopp’s side could be crowned champions on Thursday if second-placed Manchester City fail to win at Chelsea.
Should Pep Guardiola’s side win at Stamford Bridge it would mean Liverpool could finish the job with a win in their next game, against defending champions City, on July 2.
After the Liverpool anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was played in front of the empty stadium, Roy Hodgson’s Palace suffered an early blow when Wilfried Zaha limped off injured in the 15th minute.
Trent Alexander-Arnold fired Liverpool ahead in the 23rd minute with a perfectly-executed curling free kick.
Egyptian Mohamed Salah doubled the advantage, a minute before the interval, chesting down a cross-field pass from Fabinho before skipping goalwards and slotting home.
Brazilian Fabinho made it 3-0 with a thundering drive from 25 metres out before Sadio Mane added the fourth, finishing off a classic break from Liverpool’s front three.
Liverpool have 86 points from 31 games with City 23 points behind ahead of their trip to Chelsea.
Earlier, Anthony Martial scored Manchester United’s first Premier League hat-trick for seven years to inspire a 3-0 home win over Sheffield United and maintain their hopes of a top-four finish.
The French forward’s maiden career treble was also the first by a United player in the league since former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after they won their record 20th league title.
United stayed fifth in the standings on 49 points from 31 games, two behind fourth-placed Chelsea whose game in hand is a home clash with champions Manchester City tonight.
Another episode of the Adama Traore-Raul Jimenez show delivered Wolverhampton Wanderers a precious 1-0 win over struggling Bournemouth.
In an almost carbon copy of Saturday’s opener against West Ham United, Traore’s surging run and inch-perfect cross on the hour was met by Jimenez for his 15th league goal of the season.