Man Utd vs Liverpool 2-1
Marcus Rashford scored twice on his recall to the starting XI to give Mourinho’s side the points despite a largely defensive display in which they had just 32% of possession and two shots on target.
The win meant Mourinho’s side narrowed the gap on runaway leaders Manchester City to 13 points – at least until City play at Stoke on Monday – but, more pertinently, they are now five points clear of the third-placed Merseysiders.
Rashford, making his first league start since 26 December, will rightly grab the headlines but Romelu Lukaku was instrumental in both goals, and Liverpool simply could not deal with his physical power in the first half.
First, the Belgium striker’s header from David de Gea’s clearance found Rashford charging into the visitors’ box, and he cut inside Trent Alexander-Arnold before firing into the bottom corner.
For United’s second goal, Lukaku held up the ball from another goal-kick before feeding Juan Mata and, although he could not get a shot away, the ball fell for Rashford to score via a slight deflection from Alexander-Arnold.
At that stage Liverpool were second best in every area of the pitch and could have fallen further behind when Mata volleyed acrobatically wide from an Alexis Sanchez cross. Jurgen Klopp’s side improved dramatically after the break and, with United defending deep, the visitors cranked up the pressure without ever really opening up their hosts.
It took an own goal for the Reds to reduce the deficit when Eric Bailly turned Sadio Mane’s cross past De Gea while attempting to clear at the near post. That gave Liverpool’s travelling fans hope but their side could not fashion any further clear chances, even in six often chaotic minutes of stoppage time.
United survived to clinch victory in the first of three games here in the next seven days that will shape their season.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace 2-1
Chelsea revived their hopes of a top four Premier League finish as they got back to winning ways with a victory over lowly Crystal Palace.
The Blues remain fifth but their win saw Antonio Conte’s team close the gap on fourth placed Tottenham to two points – at least until Spurs play Bournemouth on Sunday.
Brazilian winger Willian, 29, opened the scoring for the hosts and was aided by a deflection off Palace defender Martin Kelly, as the ball crept inside the left-hand post.
Chelsea spurned several excellent openings before doubling their advantage, again thanks to significant chunk of good fortune. Kelly, was again involved.
The former Liverpool player initially did well to clear Davide Zappacosta’s drive off his own goal line but the ball ricocheted off Eagles goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and struck Kelly before entering the net.
Eden Hazard had a goal disallowed for offside and Chelsea’s profligacy threatened to give Roy Hodgson’s team a route back into the match.
Patrick van Aanholt’s late goal briefly raised their hopes but Conte’s side held on with Palace remaining in the bottom three.
In Other Results
Everton vs Brighton 2-0
Huddersfield vs Swansea 0-0
Newcastle Utd vs Southampton 3-0
West Brom vs Leicester City 1-4
West Ham vs Burnley 0-3