Liverpool's march to a first English league championship in 30 years is turning into a procession.

Manchester City currently look in no state to stop it happening.

The gap between the two main Premier League title contenders grew to a remarkable 11 points yesterday, with a match-winning performance by Liverpool's commanding centre back Virgil van Dijk highlighting the difference between the teams.

Hours after City's shaky defence conceded an 88th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Newcastle, van Dijk ventured forward to power home two headed goals from set pieces and lead Liverpool to a 2-1 win over Brighton at Anfield.


Liverpool finished with 10 men after keeper Alisson Becker was sent off in the 76th minute for hand ball outside the area, with Brighton scoring from the resultant free kick.

"We don't think about these things," manager Jurgen Klopp said of Liverpool's big lead at the top of the table. "It was just to win this game."

Even with their recent history of agonising misses in Premier League title races, the Reds would be extremely hard-pushed to mess up this one — especially with their class of 2019-20 still unbeaten and having dropped only two points all season.

Kevin De Bruyne's 82nd-minute strike flew in off the crossbar to give City a 2-1 lead at Newcastle but it proved in vain as former Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey equalised after makeshift City centre back Fernandinho conceded a sloppy free kick.

How City, deprived of star centre back Aymeric Laporte because of a long-term knee injury, would love a defender like van Dijk to shore up a creaky backline that's also missing Vincent Kompany after the long-time captain's departure at the end of last season.

"To concede the goals we did was frustrating," said City defender John Stones. "It's something that is hard for me to explain."

City failed to win at St James' Park for the second straight season. Pep Guardiola's side lost 2-1 in January, which sparked a 14-match winning run that took City to the title — a point ahead of Liverpool.

City might have to go unbeaten for the rest of this season to even get close to threatening Liverpool this time round.


It's three straight wins for Jose Mourinho as Tottenham manager — and much of that is down to Dele Alli.

The midfielder has been revitalised since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino 10 days ago, playing in a more attacking role close to striker Harry Kane. He starred in the 3-2 victory at West Ham in Mourinho's first game in charge, scored the goal that started Spurs' recovery from 2-0 down in the 4-2 win over Olympiakos in the Champions League, and yesterday scored twice in a 3-2 win over Bournemouth.

"He plays in a position where he feels happy and comfortable," said Mourinho of Alli. "We give him space for his creativity which he always has."

Alli scored the opening two goals before Moussa Sissoko volleyed in a third. Harry Wilson netted twice late on but Spurs held on for a win that lifted them to fifth, having been 14th when Mourinho took over. The Champions League qualification positions are suddenly in sight for Spurs after a surprise loss for Chelsea.

Knowing he was in line to make his Premier League debut at age 33 for the club where his father was a great, David Martin struggled to eat for the past two days. Martin didn't show any nerves in goal for West Ham, keeping a clean sheet as his team upset London rivals Chelsea in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

Aaron Cresswell scored West Ham's winner in the 47th minute to leave fourth-placed Chelsea six points ahead of Tottenham.

Martin, whose father Alvin played 20 straight years for West Ham from 1976, replaced Roberto after a series of woeful performances by the Spanish keeper, and said he was just glad "I didn't let anyone down".

The victory ended West Ham's streak of eight matches without a win in all competitions, stretching back more than two months.

Wilfried Zaha scored for the second straight game as Crystal Palace won at Burnley 2-0 to climb into the top half. Southampton rallied to beat Watford 2-1 at home and move four points clear of the last-placed visitors. James Ward-Prowse curled in the 83rd-minute winner from a free kick.

- AP