Før han kom til toppen af Premier League, fik Liverpool at nyde en Manchester United ydmygelse.
Nu, ualmindeligt, har Liverpool brug for et hurtigt opsving fra sin store rival efter Uniteds fortvivlelse på at blive dirigeret 4-0 af Everton søndag.
Liverpools håb om at afslutte en 29-årig engelsk titel tørke kunne hænge på en stor tjeneste fra sjettepladsen United, når det er vært for Manchester City onsdag.
Efter at have slået Cardiff 2-0 på søndag, er Liverpool to point foran City med tre spil tilbage. Men Pep Guardiolas mestere har et spil i hånden over Liverpool, så forsvaret af titlen er stadig under deres kontrol – medmindre de ikke klarer at slå United.
Liverpools engelske midtbanespiller James Milner (højre) fejrer scoring fra straffesparken. Kilde: AFP
“Hvis du kun er motiveret ved at vinde den hellige gral, er der noget der er galt med dig,” sagde Liverpool-lederen Juergen Klopp.
“Vi nyder turen sammen med vores fans.”
Hvordan hans hold kunne gøre med United holde City til en 0-0 draw ligesom det gjorde, da Liverpool besøgte Old Trafford i februar.
“Man United var i det øjeblik åbenbart i et meget bedre øjeblik,” sagde Klopp.
“Vi får se, hvad der kommer ud på onsdag. Vi har ingen indflydelse på det, men vi skal stadig spille efter det. ”
For Arsenal, the challenge in its remaining four matches is sealing a top-four finish to qualify for the Champions League.
That mission was hampered by a 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace that left Unai Emery’s side in fourth place but only ahead of Chelsea on goal difference and a point behind Tottenham.
LIVERPOOL DELAYS KILLER BLOW
Liverpool’s breakthrough against relegation-threatened Cardiff only came in the second half — the sixth successive league game which Liverpool has won by scoring a winner after the break.
Georginio Wijnaldum met Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner at the near post in the 57th minute.
“The boys decided the routine for the first goal in the dressing room at halftime,” Klopp said. “We had different routines but the players decided and I love that.”
Liverpool was disrupted by losing Fabinho following a clash of heads and Milner was sent on to play what proved to be a decisive role.
Milner netted from the penalty spot in the 81st minute after Sean Morrison grappled Mohamed Salah, who fell to the ground.
“Morrison used his hands four or five times and (referee) Martin Atkinson took his time but eventually gave a penalty,” Klopp said.
Liverpool now has a club-record 88 Premier League points, beating the 86 managed in the 2008-09 season.
But there’s still a first championship crown since 1990 to secure.
Cardiff’s mission is staying in the Premier League and the south Wales side remains in the last relegation place — three points from safety with three games remaining.
Manchester City and Liverpool’s Premier League run-ins:
(Liverpool lead Manchester City by two points, but City has a game in hand)
April 26: Huddersfield (home)
May 04: Newcastle (away)
May 12: Wolves (home)
April 24: Manchester United (away)
April 28: Burnley (away)
May 06: Leicester (home)
May 12: Brighton (away)
APOLOGY FOR UNITED COLLAPSE
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apologised to fans after United lost for the sixth time in eight matches in all competitions — a spell that includes the manager’s caretaker position being turned into a permanent job on a three-year contract.
Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson scored before the break, and Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott added to United’s pain with further goals in the second half.
“We have got to apologise to the fans because they were absolutely fantastic and that performance is not good enough for a Man United team,” Solskjaer said.
“All the way from me to the players, we know that we let the fans down, we let the club down. That performance is difficult to describe because it is so bad. “We were beaten on all the things, all the ingredients you need, added to the talent. There is no place you can hide on the pitch.”
United is where it was when Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December — sixth place.
ARSENAL STILL FOURTH DESPITE SETBACK
United’s loss meant Arsenal still ended Sunday in fourth place, two points ahead of Solskjaer’s side despite the north London club’s 10-match winning league home run ending.
After Christian Benteke netted his first goal in 20 games in the 17th minute, Mesut Ozil did level for Arsenal at the start of the second half.
But Benteke set up Wilfried Zaha to restore Crystal Palace’s lead in the 61st before James McArthur headed in the visitors’ third.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in the 77th but Arsenal couldn’t find two more goals to extend its 10-match winning league run at home.
“It was very frustrating, because it was a big opportunity,” Arsenal manager Unai Emery said. “But we’ve had plenty of big opportunities before today, plenty of key moments that give us the opportunity to achieve our first target, to play in the Champions League next year.” That could still be secured by winning the Europa League with Arsenal facing Valencia in the semi-finals.