Liverpool boost top-four hopes with win

Jurgen Klopp celebrated his first win at Old Trafford as Liverpool came from behind to beat Manchester United and boost their chances of a Champions League place.

In a thrilling game played against the backdrop of noisy protests against the United ownership outside the ground, United struck first through Bruno Fernandes’ deflected opener.

But Liverpool, who had seen one of their buses prevented from picking team members up before the game after being blocked in the street, hit back through Diogo Jota’s instinctive effort.

Roberto Firmino, who had only scored once since his two-goal haul at Crystal Palace in December, then put his side on top with a well-taken double either side of half-time.

Marcus Rashford pulled one back for United midway through the second half but Mohamed Salah wrapped up the points with a late breakaway strike for his 21st Premier League goal of the season.

That moved him level with Harry Kane in the Golden Boot standings and condemned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to a sixth home defeat of the season.

The result takes Liverpool fifth in the Premier League. If they win at West Brom on Sunday they will close to within one and three points respectively of FA Cup finalists Chelsea and Leicester, who still have to play each other at Stamford Bridge on 18 May.

Brendan Rodgers was in charge in March 2014, the last time Liverpool beat United in an away game.

Jordan Henderson’s groin injury meant there was no-one left from that night in the visitors’ ranks, and Klopp celebrated his debut United away win with a double fist-pump as Salah scored.

Salah might have had the chance to get on the scoresheet much earlier in the game had referee Anthony Taylor not consulted the pitch side monitor and changed his decision to give a penalty for Eric Bailly’s tackle on Nat Phillips.

Knowing victory was needed to maintain a realistic top-four chance, Klopp appeared distinctly unimpressed by the incident. The Ivorian defender certainly played the ball first but the force behind the challenge sent the Liverpool defender flying.

In a game that started to the sound of a police helicopter whirring overhead, Liverpool did not have to wait long for another chance.

Jota’s finish was excellent but United’s defence stood off Phillips after a corner, allowing him to run and turn before his shot spun to the feet of his Portuguese team-mate.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s superb free-kick delivery to the far post in first-half stoppage time invited Firmino’s header to put Liverpool ahead – and was a timely reminder of his ability with England boss Gareth Southgate watching from the stands. (BBC)

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