Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah Power Liverpool to Win over Manchester United

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2020

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates with Roberto Firmino after scoring his team's first goa during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United at Anfield on January 19, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday to collect their 13th straight Premier League win and move 16 points clear at the top of the standings.

Virgil van Dijk headed home from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner in the 14th minute, and the hosts had two efforts ruled out after crossing the line. Mohamed Salah doubled their advantage in injury-time following a quick counter from a late United corner.

Liverpool have now gone 39 Premier League matches without defeat, and United remain the only top-flight team to have taken points from Jurgen Klopp's side this season—they drew 1-1 at Old Trafford in October.

Marcus Rashford was absent for the visit to Anfield due to a back injury, while the Red Devils also missed midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.

Each of the three would have been welcome figures Sunday when it quickly became clear the hosts were fully intent on taking the fixture to their guests.

United paid for poor marking from a set piece after less than a quarter of an hour when Fred and Brandon Williams failed to prevent Van Dijk powering home the opener (UK and U.S. viewers only):

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Salah is the only Liverpool team-mate with whom Alexander-Arnold has combined for more assists, per football writer Andrew Beasley:

Victor Lindelof's blushes were spared when an unforgiving Roberto Firmino goal was disallowed for a challenge on goalkeeper David de Gea following a video assistant referee review.

Van Dijk was penalised for his jump into De Gea shortly before Lindelof was caught in possession yards from goal, and Firmino's whipped finish inside the far post was chalked off as a result (UK and U.S. viewers only):

Georginio Wijnaldum thought he'd converted a legal second when he ran clear to finish one-on-one following a superb Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ball through, but the strike was quickly ruled out for offside.

Liverpool were unfortunate not to have doubled or tripled their lead by the interval, with the hosts racking up eight corners in the first half while United failed to earn one.

The second-half script read much the same as the first, with Salah unlucky not to double the deficit early on following a blazing run down the left flank by Andy Robertson. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson crashed an attempt off De Gea's right post moments later.

Fred was one of the driving forces behind United's comeback attempts and was responsible for some of their better chances, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side enjoying an improved second half.

Anthony Martial reminded his hosts of United's threat after blazing a superb chance over following a clean one-two with Andrea Pereira. Broadcaster Deji Faremi said the Frenchman should have done better:

That ended up being the closest Solskjaer's men came to an equaliser at Anfield, with United failing to open the same space in front of Alisson Becker for the remaining 25 minutes.

The Brazil No. 1 even helped boost their lead himself and showed quick wits to set Salah sprinting clear one-on-one with De Gea in the 92nd minute, and the Egyptian dutifully tucked in his 11th league goal this season.

Alisson earned plaudits for his eagerness to celebrate following his late assist to Salah:

United remain five points outside the top four and are now 30 points lower than Liverpool, who have secured back-to-back home league wins in this fixture for the first time since 2010-11.


What's Next?

Liverpool hope to continue their winning streak away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday, while United return to Old Trafford on Wednesday when they'll host Burnley.