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EPL week 26 review: Liverpool return to the top; United moved into the top 4

TAGs: English Premier League, Manchester United

The first round-up of Week 26 of the English Premier League sees Liverpool return to the top with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth, and Manchester United replace Chelsea in the Top 4 with a comfortable away win at Fulham.

Sitting in the corner behind empty bottles of cider is Justin. At 17-years-old he’s too young to remember footprints on the moon, a Michael Jackson tune or Liverpool’s 1980s typhoon.

EPL Wk 26 Review: Liverpool return to the top; United moved into the top 4“What do you think?”

“Don’t talk about it.”

Liverpool lined up against Bournemouth second to Manchester City in the English Premier League (EPL) for the first time in two months. It’s more of a shaving cut than a deep laceration, but it’s a position that led to some bookmakers making City the 10/11 favourite to retain their title, and young fans like Justin frightened to gaze into the crystal ball.

The pundits will have you believe that Liverpool is under pressure; crushed under the light of flashing bulbs of optimism that the English Premier League (EPL) title is coming home to Merseyside for the first time.

It didn’t show.

Liverpool won at a canter.

Bournemouth never emerged from the shadows of the Kop, falling to their eighth successive away defeat in a 3-0 stroll in the park for Jürgen Klopp’s men.

The road to Liverpool’s 34th unbeaten EPL game at Anfield came in the 24th minute when Sadio Mané reached a James Milner cross quicker than anyone else lurking beneath the windowsills at the near post to head home the opener. It was the Senegalese international’s fourth goal in as many EPL games.

Liverpool wrapped up the tie as perfectly as a supermarket bag boy handles a spaghetti squash when Georginio Wijnaldum, who was a doubt through illness, cut a cute lob over Artur Boruc, ten-minutes before half time.

The second half was only three minutes old when we saw the best goal of the match – Mohamed Salah finishing an excellent move involving a cute backheel from Roberto Firmino to extend his lead at the top of the EPL Golden Boot charts to 17 for the season, with his 49th goal in 62 EPL matches.

Bournemouth was lucky their ‘Goals Conceded’ column remained at 47 with Salah striking the bar, and Sané and Firmino spurning chances late on. The thrilling threesome has scored 14 of Liverpool’s last 15 goals. Only Fulham (58) and Huddersfield (48) have conceded more than the team from the sunny south.

Liverpool lead is three-points. Man City faces Chelsea on Sunday knowing a victory will see them return to the top on goal difference albeit with Liverpool holding a game in hand.

Fulham 0 v 3 Man Utd

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer believes his beloved Red Devils are two years away from challenging for the title, so, until then, a Champions League spot seems to be one of the primary goals.

United moved into the Top 4 after drowning Fulham at Craven Cottage in a 3-0 win. Once again, Paul Pogba was the catalyst behind United’s sparkle, scoring a brace, giving him 11 EPL goals for the season, the first time the former Juventus midfielder has hit double-digits in a league campaign. Seven of those nine goals have come playing under Solksjaer.

Anthony Martial was the other player in fine fettle, setting up Pogba to smash home the first from close range, before putting away his 11th of the season, in all competitions, after a superb solo run. Pogba’s second came from the spot after Maxime Le Marchand’s clumsy foul on Juan Mata.

Solksjaer rested Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard with the midweek Champions League tie against Paris St. Germain fresh in his mind. Alexis Sanchez replaced Pogba early in the second half for the same reasons, and the Chilean should have made it four when clean through on goal only to see his effort saved by the Fulham shot-stopper.

United has now won 10 of the 11 games under Solsjkaer’s tutelage, and the bookies make them 6/5 to qualify for the Champions League. Chelsea will ease them out of those vital positions if they can pick up a point against Man City on Sunday.

The defeat leaves Fulham languishing in the relegation zone seven points from safety after losing five of their last six games and conceding 58 goals so far this term.

Results in Full

Fulham 0 v 3 Man Utd
Watford 1 v 0 Everton
Huddersfield 1 v 2 Arsenal
Southampton 1 v 2 Cardiff
Crystal Palace 1 v 1 West Ham
Liverpool 3 v 0 Bournemouth
Brighton 1 v 3 Burnley

To Be Played

Spurs v Leicester (Sun)
Man City v Chelsea (Sun)
Wolves v Newcastle (Mon)

Premier League Table

1. Liverpool – 65 points
2. Man City – 62
3. Spurs – 57
4. Man Utd – 51
5. Chelsea – 50
6. Arsenal – 50
7. Wolves – 38
8. Watford – 37
9. Everton – 33
10. West Ham – 33
11. Bournemouth – 33
12. Leicester – 32
13. Crystal Palace – 27
14. Brighton – 27
15. Burnley – 27
16. Cardiff – 25
17. Newcastle – 24
18. Southampton – 24
19. Fulham – 17
20. Huddersfield – 11

Odds

To Win

Liverpool 10/11
Man City 10/11
Spurs 25/1

Top 4 Finish

Spurs 1/7
Chelsea 10/11
Man Utd 6/5
Arsenal 3/1

Relegated

Huddersfield 1/500
Fulham 1/9
Cardiff 4/5
Burnley 10/3
Southampton 5/1
Newcastle 11/2

Top Scorer

Mohamed Salah 10/11 (17 goals)
Sergio Aguero 3/1 (14 goals)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7/2 (15 goals)
Harry Kane 10/1 (14 goals)

Next Manager to Leave

Claude Puel 7/2
Marco Silva 11/8
No Manager to Leave 5/1

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