Liverpool thrashed Crystal Palace 4-0 and are now on the brink of the Premier League title, knowing a win or draw for Chelsea against Manchester City on Thursday evening will see them crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years.
An inch-perfect Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick (23) and trademark finish from the returning Mohamed Salah (44) rewarded Liverpool’s first-half dominance at Anfield and, with the visitors’ threat hampered by an early injury to Wilfried Zaha, the Reds continued their control after the break.
Fabinho crashed home a stunning 30-yard strike (55) and Sadio Mane slotted home number four (68) to extend their advantage over second-placed Manchester City to 23 points.
Liverpool’s attentions will now turn to City’s trip to Chelsea. If City win, then Liverpool will have the chance to clinch the crown against the defending champions next Thursday, July 2.
urgen Klopp’s side had looked blunt when they drew with Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, but they showed far more incision in attack from the off against Palace.
Gini Wijnaldum should have put Liverpool ahead on eight minutes when he scuffed a close-range shot wide, before skipper Jordan Henderson skied a volley over the bar from Mane’s cross moments later.
A muscle injury to Zaha was a major blow to Palace’s ambitions and they suffered an even more significant setback on 23 minutes when an unnecessary Jordan Ayew foul on Virgil van Dijk allowed Alexander-Arnold to bend home a delicious free-kick from the edge of the area.
Jordan Henderson then struck a post from Palace ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey’s punch out and Wijnaldum was off target again after a handball penalty shout out against the visitors’ Gary Cahill was waved away as Liverpool assumed total control.
A Joe Gomez mis-control allowed Max Meyer a rare sight at goal for Roy Hodgson’s men, but, two minutes after his wayward strike, Salah chested down and clinically converted Fabinho’s delightful chipped through ball for Liverpool’s 100th goal of the season across all competitions.
Fabinho then went from provider to goalscorer after the interval, hammering the ball into the corner of Palace’s goal with a stunning long-range strike.
Salah curled just wide and sub Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired over but Mane made no mistake with his finish when he rounded off a move he started and also involved great combination play from Liverpool’s feared front three.
With 22 minutes to play it seemed Liverpool would go on and find a fifth and Salah had a golden chance to do just that but got caught between passing to a team-mate or scoring himself. But by then his impact on his return to the team had been powerfully felt by Palace.