Liverpool’s march to a first English league championship in 30 years is turning into a procession.
Manchester City certainly looks in no state to stop it happening.
The gap between the two main title contenders grew to a remarkable 11 points on Saturday, with a match-winning performance by Liverpool’s commanding center back, Virgil van Dijk, highlighting the difference between the teams.
Hours after City’s shaky defense conceded an 88th-minute equalizer 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 the match with 10 men after goalkeeper Alisson Becker was sent off in the 76th for handball outside the area, from which Brighton scored its goal at a free kick.
If third-placed Leicester, which was tied on points with Man City, fails to beat Everton on Sunday, Liverpool will own a double-figure lead after just 14 of the 38 rounds.
Even with their recent history of agonizing misses in Premier League title races, the Reds would be hard-pushed to mess this one up — especially with their class of 2019-20 still unbeaten and having dropped only two points all season.
Kevin De Bruyne’s rasping strike that flew in off the crossbar gave City a 2-1 lead at Newcastle in the 82nd but it proved to be in vain as Jonjo Shelvey, a former Liverpool player, equalized.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho continued to work his magic at Tottenham, where he has won his first three matches in charge — two in the league and one in the Champions League — after a 3-2 victory over Bournemouth.
Dele Alli, revitalized under Mourinho, scored twice.
Having taken charge with Tottenham in 14th place and in some disarray, Mourinho has led the team to fifth — and the Champions League qualification positions are suddenly in sight.
That’s because fourth-placed Chelsea lost surprisingly at home to out-of-form West Ham 1-0, thanks to a second-half goal by Aaron Cresswell.
Also, Crystal Palace won at Burnley 2-0 to climb into the top half.
This update corrects next-to-last paragraph to say that Aaron Cresswell scored West Ham’s goal, not Michail Antonio.
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Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80