LONDON: Liverpool’s remarkable continued with a sixth successive Premier League home defeat as Fulham secured a crucial win in their battle to avoid relegation.
Manchester City remain well clear at the top of the table despite losing 2- at home to United.
In the late match Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 4-1 with two goals apiece from Harry Kane and Gareth Bale.
At Anfield Mario Lemina’s goal on half-time, after the Gabon midfielder had dispossessed Mohamed Salah, gave the visitors a deserved win and saw them draw level on 26 points with 17th-placed Brighton.
It was Fulham’s first win at Anfield since 2012, while champions Liverpool are now struggling to finish in the top four after another uninspired performance at home.
The Reds, who won the title last season by 18 points, had gone 68 home league matches unbeaten before their current run started with a loss to Burnley in January. Since then they have also lost on home soil to Brighton, Manchester City, Everton, Chelsea and now Fulham.
The Champions League, in which they play their second round return in midweek, becomes the priority for their season.
Manager Jurgen Klopp said: “The game is decided by goals. We didn’t score but conceded one. The chances we had we didn’t use. Fulham had their moments and played a good game and when you score the goals you deserve to win so that’s it.
“We care a lot and it’s a really tough moment. We don’t have as much belief as before. It’s a blow also when, a few minutes before half-time, you concede a goal. We have had similar situations in the last few weeks much too often.
“We have to show we can get results and first and foremost you need a goal-denying record. You need tight results but positive tight results, like 1-0.
“Fulham played a good game and deserved to win. It’s not that they had 20 chances. We had a last line who had never played together. In the second half our reaction was OK. We had chances which, in other moments, go in.
“It’s tough to take but we will take it and deal with it. It’s a big job. I don’t have enough English words to describe it.”
One record had to fall in the Manchester derby. City were the victims as their record run of 21 successive victories in all competitions was ended by a 2-0 defeat. United are thus still undefeated after extending to 22 their own record run of undefeated league games away from home.
City’s consolation is in remaining clear leaders and title favourites with an 11-point lead over second-placed United.
City manager Pep Guardiola had warned his players against complacency after their record winning run. He told them: “In the cups, in the Champions League, it can take one game and you are out. It is the same in the league when you think you are getting good results. One game can change everything. So we have to be careful to keep moving forward.”
But they were not careful enough in the first minute of the 185th Manchester derby.
Jesus pushed over Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes converted the penalty. This was the Portugal midfielder’s 23rd goal of the season in all competitions and 16th in the league. It was also the first time City had fallen behind in 20 league games.
City were rattled. Luke Shaw wasted a chance of a second goal two minutes later after a mistake by Cancelo then Marcus Rashford saw a low, serving shot saved by Ederson diving to his right. City misplaced passes in midfield and struggled to cope with the aggressive tacking of Scott McTominay and Fred, the defensive duo on which United rely in away games.
History repeated itself at the start of the second with City punished for falling asleep in the opening minutes. Rodri saw a shot clip the bar and, while City were reflecting on their bad luck, so United burst forward and Shaw exchanged passes with Rashford and shot home, low to Ederson’s left.
City had now conceded as many goals in this game as in their previous eight league home games combined.