London, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- Liverpool hammered Crystal Palace 4-0 Wednesday to go 23 points clear atop the Premier League and could clinch their first top-flight title in 30 years in just 24 hours.
Two-time defending champions Manchester City must take all 3 points from their contest Thursday against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to prevent the Reds from winning the league.
Palace, with 42 points from 31 matches, are ninth.
Liverpool came into Wednesday’s game anxious to erase the disappointment of last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby.
The Reds’ form had suffered in the weeks prior to March’s suspension of play due to the coronavirus, but facing Palace at Anfield, they looked more like the team that set a record earlier this season for successive wins.
Trent Alexander-Arnold put the hosts on the board in the 23rd minute, scoring from a direct free kick. Mohamed Salah, who didn’t play against Everton, made it 2-0 for Liverpool in the 44th minute.
After assisting on Salah’s goal, Fabinho increased the advantage to 3-0 in the 55th minute.
The fourth goal came in the 79th minute, when Salah sent the ball deep to Sadio Mane on the counter and the Senegalese striker tucked it just inside the post.
Earlier Wednesday, Anthony Martial accounted for all of the scoring in Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Sheffield United, becoming the first Red Devil since 2013 to post a Premier League triple.
The win on Match Day 31 of the pandemic-interrupted 2019-2020 season lifted Man United to 49 points, just 2 behind fourth-place Chelsea, who will play their 31st game on Thursday against Manchester City.
And while the Red Devils boosted their Champions League hopes, Sheffield saw their chances of European football recede, falling to eighth on 44 points.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went with a 4-2-3-1 formation featuring Martial as lone striker in front of Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. A decision that proved to be inspired.
The Frenchman gave the hosts the lead in the 7th minute with an assist from Rashford.
Just before half-time, Martial made it 2-0 on a pass from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
With 32 percent possession, Sheffield managed just four shots, only of them on target, and Martial completed the hat trick in the 74th minute off a give-and-go with Rashford.
In Wednesday’s other action, Wolverhampton topped Bournemouth 1-0 on a goal in the 60th minute by Raul Jimenez. The Mexican’s 15th marker of the Premier League campaign brought Wolves level on points with Man United, who lead in the table based on goal difference.
Bournemouth remain 18th, with 27 points, the same as 19th-place Aston Villa but an advantage on goal difference.
Villa picked up a potentially valuable point Wednesday against Newcastle United, who went ahead 1-0 on Dwight Gale’s goal in the 68th minute only to concede the equalizer to Ahmed Elmohamady with seven minutes left in regulation.
The result left Newcastle 13th with 39 points.
Michael Keane scored in the 55th minute to lead Everton 1-0 over last-place Norwich City as the Toffies moved into 10th place. EFE msg/dr