Captain Van Dijk contributed to a hard-fought but deserved 2-0 away victory for Liverpool against bottom-placed Sheffield United. The goal by the Dutch international in the 37th minute appeared to be the only one of the match for a long time, until Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai determined the final score in injury time. With the win, Liverpool remains 2 points behind league leader Arsenal.
The Premier League's number 2 had 80 percent ball possession in the first half, but only managed to score through Van Dijk's goal following a corner from Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Dutchman scored his seventeenth league goal for the 'Reds', surpassing his compatriot Georginio Wijnaldum. Ryan Gravenberch came on in the final phase for Cody Gakpo.
Manchester City drops points again
Later in the evening, it got even better for Liverpool when it turned out that third-placed Manchester City had dropped points against Aston Villa. Due to a goal by Leon Bailey, the team managed by Pep Guardiola suffered a 1-0 defeat. For Manchester City, it was the fourth league match in a row without a win. The three previous games ended in draws.
It was a deserved victory, as Unai Emery's team was the better side. Aston Villa also displaced Manchester City from the third spot in the standings and now has 32 points, 4 less than league leader Arsenal. City, where international Nathan Aké remained on the bench for the entire match, dropped to fourth place with 30 points.
McTominay Celebrated as Manchester United's Hero
Ten Hag will feel less pressure after his Manchester United's deserved victory over Chelsea. It ended 2-1 at Old Trafford. Scott McTominay opened the scoring in the first half. Cole Palmer equalized for the visitors from London just before halftime. It was McTominay again who scored the 2-1 in the 69th minute with a header. It was his fifth goal of the season. Chelsea had chances to equalize in the final phase, but United held onto the lead.
Ten Hag called Manchester United's victory over Chelsea (2-1) the result of a strong unity. 'We completely dominated the first half and could have been up 2-0 or 3-0 after half an hour. The team fought and worked together very well,' said the former Ajax coach after the match on Viaplay. 'The organization was good throughout the game because the players communicated with each other. This is a good bunch, indeed.'
He felt compelled to praise the team spirit following stories in the English media that some of the players no longer had confidence in the coach. United has had an inconsistent season. Four journalists were even banned from the press conference prior to the match with Chelsea because they, according to Ten Hag, did not adhere to the agreed terms. 'I don't feel any pressure and those stories don't affect me because I know the situation. And in the match against Chelsea, everyone could see it. We are a team, a strong unit.'