LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City are one win away from being crowned Premier League champions after a swaggering 3-1 victory over Everton, while Mohamed Salah was Liverpool’s hero yet again as the Egypt star clinched a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday (March 31).
Pep Guardiola’s side maintained their 16-point lead at the top thanks to a scintillating first half display at Goodison Park.
City, on a five-match winning run in the league, can look forward to the delicious prospect of sealing the title when bitter rivals Manchester United visit Eastlands next Saturday.
Leroy Sane put City ahead with a sumptuous volley from David Silva’s pin-point cross in the fourth minute Gabriel Jesus increased City’s lead eight minutes later, the Brazil forward heading in from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.
Thrashed 4-0 at Everton last season in one of the worst defeats of Guardiola’s glittering career, City underlined their vast improvement since then as Raheem Sterling finished off a ruthless counter-attack in the 37th minute.
Yannick Bolasie drilled home for Everton in the 63rd minute, but City’s club record 13th away league win means they have 84 points and can break the previous record total for Premier League champions – Chelsea’s 85-point haul in 2005 – if they beat United.
Having already won the League Cup, City next face a Champions League quarter-final first leg against Liverpool on Wednesday.
In rainy south London, Liverpool trailed when Luka Milivojevic drove struggling Palace into a 13th-minute lead from the penalty spot after Loris Karius fouled Wilfried Zaha.
But Senegal winger Sadio Mane levelled four minutes after the break with a close-range finish.
Salah, in the midst of an incredible debut season at Liverpool, proved the match winner as he smashed home in the 84th minute.
Salah, who has 37 goals in 42 games in all competitions this term, has scored in the joint-most Premier League matches (21) in a single 38-match season.
That ties the mark set by Robin van Persie in 2012-13 and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007-08.
“I think the moment you see it is Mo (on the ball) you feel good. It was a very cool finish and long may that form continue,” Klopp said.
Liverpool were unable to hold onto second place as Manchester United moved two points ahead of them with a 2-0 victory against Swansea at Old Trafford.
“Lots of players played internationals, so they were tired in the second half. Every point is vital because we want to stay in second place,” United manager Jose Mourinho said.
“In other leagues we would be fighting for the title. We are having a positive season and we still have the FA Cup to come.” Romelu Lukaku scored for United with a deflected strike from Alexis Sanchez’s pass in the fifth minute.
Former Chelsea and Everton star Lukaku, who has netted in five times in his last six appearances, now has 100 career Premier League goals.
Chile forward Sanchez bagged just his second goal since joining United from Arsenal in January in the 20th minute.
The Premier League’s highest paid player had gone seven games without a goal until he finished off Jesse Lingard’s pass.
Marko Arnautovic lifted the gloom at West Ham as his double inspired a crucial 3-0 victory against relegation rivals Southampton.
Hundreds of fans staged a march against West Ham’s co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan before kick-off in the aftermath of the crowd protests that marred their recent home defeat against Burnley.
Amid a tense atmosphere that saw extra security measures to protect the owners, on-loan Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario eased the anxiety with a 13th-minute opener for David Moyes’ side.
Four minutes later, Arnautovic doubled West Ham’s lead and celebrated by shouting angrily towards Saints boss Mark Hughes, who fell out with the Austrian when they were together at Stoke.
And Arnautovic ensured West Ham’s fans went home happy for once with a superb volley in first-half stoppage time.
“The supporters were great and they appreciated the performance of the players. We got the job done early which helped,” Moyes said.
West Ham are five points above the relegation zone, while Southampton drop into the bottom three.
West Bromwich Albion look certain to be relegated after Burnley’s 2-1 win at the Hawthorns handed the bottom club an eighth consecutive defeat.
Leicester struck late in a 2-0 win at Brighton, with Albion striker Glenn Murray missing a penalty before Vicente Iborra and Jamie Vardy sealed the points.
Newcastle beat Huddersfield 1-0 and Watford drew 2-2 with Bournemouth.