Liverpool go 16 points clear with 2-0 win over United
Burnley stun Leicester
Liverpool moved 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 14th-minute Virgil van Dijk header and a stoppage-time strike from Mohamed Salah gave them a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.
Juergen Klopp's side, chasing their first league title in 30 years, also have a game in hand on second-placed Manchester City with the title race appearing more of a procession than a contest.
For United, who battled hard but were outclassed in all departments, it was another reminder of just how much work is ahead of them if they are to get back to being in contention for titles.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffered another blow to his hopes of qualifying for the Champions League with the news that his top scorer Marcus Rashford was not only out for the trip to Anfield but could face several weeks on the sidelines with a back injury.
Some reports even suggested he might be out for up to three months.
United are in fifth place in the league, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, and while no-one could question the commitment of Solskjaer's players it is clear he needs some immediate transfer reinforcements.
After a promising start from the visitors, Van Dijk put Liverpool ahead with a firm header after he was poorly marked by United, who allowed him to rise and nod in a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner.
Roberto Firmino thought he had scored a second but a VAR review ruled that Van Dijk had fouled United keeper David de Gea before the ball fell to the Brazilian.
Liverpool had the ball in the net again when Georginio Wijnaldum slotted home after a clever defence-splitting pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but the Dutchman was ruled narrowly offside.
United's attacking forages were rare but they caused some anxiety for Klopp when Andreas Pereira slid in but could not make contact with a low ball across the face of the goal from Aaron Wan Bissaka.
Yet after the break, Liverpool looked determined to put the outcome beyond doubt.
Salah missed a glorious chance from close range just after the interval during an intense period of pressure from the home side, in which Jordan Henderson also hit the post.
United survived that blitz and clawed their way back into the game and could even have snatched an equaliser but Anthony Martial blasted high and wide in the 59th minute.
Solskjaer's side applied some late pressure but were caught on the counter-attack in the final moments when, with all United players forward, Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker launched a long ball for Salah who raced clear before slotting home and settling Anfield's nerves.
"It's special. We're enjoying our football. You have to stay hungry and keep wanting more," said Henderson, who looks well set to be raising another piece of silverware at the end of this campaign after lifting the Champions League trophy last season.
Earlier, Sean Dyche claimed Burnley had silenced the doubters after they fought back to boost their bid for Premier League survival with a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Sunday.
Dyche's side trailed to a first half goal from Burnley-born Harvey Barnes at Turf Moor.
But Chris Wood equalised after half-time before Burnley keeper Nick Pope saved a penalty from Jamie Vardy.
Burnley's impressive revival was completed 11 minutes from full-time when Ashley Westwood fired home to end their run of four successive league defeats and move them five points clear of the bottom three.
It was the perfect way to mark Dyche's 300th game as Burnley boss after seven defeats from their previous nine games had plunged them into the relegation battle.
"We had some question marks around us recently, which is kind of a backhanded compliment. There was a big sign of moving forward with that performance," Dyche said.
"We know what we are about and we reminded the group of that this week. But there was good play today.
"We asked different questions. The performance was important to me as a manager not just the win."
Leicester's surprise home defeat against Southampton last weekend knocked them out of second place and this was another setback for Brendan Rodgers' suddenly spluttering team.
The Foxes remain third despite a fourth loss in their last six league matches.
"We had opportunities and their keeper makes a number of great saves. The real disappointment is the second goal we concede. He had more desire to go score than we had to track the run," Rodgers said.
"We just need to work hard. There is no magic formula. We showed tiredness over Christmas. We were better today in our game but still we have to improve."
Leicester's cause wasn't helped by the absence of rested England left-back Ben Chilwell amid talk of a potential move to Chelsea during the January transfer window.
Burnley's effort couldn't be faulted but at first they lacked composure in the final third and Leicester took the lead in the 33rd minute.
With Burnley appealing in vain for a foul by Dennis Praet on Jack Cork, Leicester stole possession and Barnes raced into the penalty area.
Vardy cleverly made a run that distracted James Tarkowski and Barnes stepped past Ben Mee to drill a cool finish under Pope for his third goal of the season.
Wood couldn't finish off Cork's tempting cross as Burnley failed to score a first half goal in 11 successive league games.
Vardy nearly doubled Leicester's lead soon after the interval with a stinging strike following a vibrant attack from the visitors.
But Burnley kept plugging away and Wood headed over from a good position six yards out.
It was a warning Leicester failed to heed and New Zealand striker Wood made them pay in the 56th minute when he tapped in his ninth league goal of the season after Kasper Schmeichel pushed Mee's header into his path.
Rodgers' side had a golden opportunity to retake the lead when Mee's foul on Barnes gave them a penalty.
Vardy stepped up to take it after a lengthy VAR check, but Pope dived to his left to make a fine save.
Pope stood tall to deny Vardy again when Leicester's leading scorer broke through on goal.
Vardy's misses proved fatal as Burnley won it in the 79th minute.
Charlie Taylor's cross wasn't cleared by Jonny Evans and Westwood pounced with a close-range finish that left Leicester shell-shocked.
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