Virgil van Dijk said the memory of losing the Premier League title race to Manchester City in 2018-19 is keeping Liverpool grounded after his side's 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Anfield.

The Netherlands international scored his side's opener after 14 minutes of a game that threatened to slip through their fingers when the visitors finished strongly, but Mohamed Salah doubled Liverpool's lead in second-half stoppage time to put the Reds 16 points clear at the top of the table.

Chants of "we're going to win the league" rang out around Anfield at the final whistle but Van Dijk insisted the team's focus would immediately be on a difficult trip to Wolves on Thursday.

"Everyone wants us to say something about it but we won't get carried away," Van Dijk told Sky Sports. "We in the squad cannot and we won't.

"I think what we experienced last year is something that made our mentality like this. We just want to go one game at a time, trying to stay fit and improve. Even after today, which was a well-deserved, fantastic win.

"We all know how difficult Wolves is, what good tactics they have, the players they have, the manager is fantastic there. What we try to do is prepare very well, make sure we all recover from this, be 100 per cent.

"We all expect it to be a very tough game. It makes it easy to prepare if you know it's going to be tough and you know there will be difficult moments."

Van Dijk disagreed with the VAR ruling that judged him to have fouled David de Gea in the 25th minute as Liverpool had a Roberto Firmino goal ruled out.

But the Reds, by Van Dijk's own admission, had enough opportunities to put the game out of United's reach before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men caused nervous moments as they probed for a late equaliser.

"I think I didn't jump with my hands up," said Van Dijk, explaining his challenge on De Gea.

"It's difficult to say but if the VAR gives it you just have to accept it and carry on. I thought it was no foul.

"We had plenty more opportunities to score goals today and make it look easy. We had two, three, maybe four clear cut chances to make it easy but you have to find a way and we did."

Liverpool are racing clear at the top of the table and it will surely take a miracle for the Reds not to win their first Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp's side face old rivals Manchester United on Sunday at Anfield, with the Red Devils the only team to have taken points off Liverpool so far this season.

Unbeaten in 38 Premier League matches, Liverpool are overwhelming favourites, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a 4-0 win over struggling Norwich City on Saturday.

Can United stall Liverpool's procession, or will Klopp's men continue their stroll towards Premier League glory?

Manchester United's erratic form continued with another insipid display against opposition they would be expected to beat, as rock-bottom Watford claimed a 2-0 win at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was able to call upon the services of Paul Pogba again from the bench for the first time since September, but by the time he was introduced the game was already beyond United, who have made a habit of dropping points against teams in the bottom half.

A complete lack of cohesion plagued the Red Devils in the first half, with Jesse Lingard wasting their only genuine opportunity as their front four made a minimal impact.

Helped by a shambolic error from David de Gea, Watford got the lead in the 50th minute through Ismaila Sarr and soon made it 2-0 thanks to a Troy Deeney penalty, giving Nigel Pearson a first win as Watford boss.

A first half sorely lacking in quality failed to produce many clear-cut opportunities, but Watford thought they opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Abdoulaye Doucoure smashed home, only for referee Lee Mason to somewhat harshly deem Craig Cathcart fouled De Gea.

Lingard was then guilty of a woeful miss just past the half-hour mark, electing to chip Ben Foster when through on goal and his effort landed on the roof of the net.

United found themselves trailing just after the restart, though Watford needed a De Gea howler to score – Sarr's tame volley bouncing up at the Spaniard and he failed to stop it squirming into the top corner.

Another lapse – this time from Aaron Wan-Bissaka – allowed Watford to extend their lead four minutes later, as the right-back clumsily tripped Sarr and Deeney smashed his spot-kick down the middle.

Pogba was introduced for Lingard just past the hour mark and showed touches of class, but he was unable to inspire a turnaround.

What does it mean? The same old problems for United

The inconsistent nature of United's form continues to baffle. Although often effective against the best teams in the division, Solskjaer still has not worked out how to break down many of the Premier League's so-called lesser sides.

An ordinary Watford team that is deservedly bottom of the table should have been straightforward opposition for United, yet at no point did they look even remotely capable of getting a win on Sunday.

A Sarr is born

Perhaps Sarr was more functional than barnstorming, but it was undoubtedly an encouraging display from the young winger. It was his shot that brought about De Gea's error and then he won the penalty from which Deeney scored. You cannot expect much more than that from him.

De Gea becoming a target

De Gea's form has underwhelmed of late and this was almost certainly the worst performance of the lot. He was extremely fortunate to win a free-kick in the first half when Watford thought they had scored, and his error for Sarr's goal was inexcusable.

What's next?

United return to Old Trafford on Boxing Day as they host Newcastle United. Watford go to Sheffield United the same day.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Erling Haaland "knows what he wants to do" amid increasing speculation about the Salzburg striker joining Manchester United, who drew 1-1 at home to Everton on Sunday thanks to Mason Greenwood's equaliser.

Solskjaer described Greenwood as "different class" in his post-match news conference, but discussion soon turned to 19-year-old Norway international Haaland.

Reports suggest the United boss could be given the resources to bring his compatriot to Old Trafford after impressing in Salzburg's ultimately unsuccessful Champions League campaign.

"I don't comment on those speculations," Solskjaer said of the transfer talk. "[Haaland] knows what he wants to do, and he knows what he's going to do, so I don't have to give any advice to any other team's players."

Discussing Greenwood after the teenager followed up a midweek Europa League brace with another goal, Solskjaer said: "It's so natural for him. He just knows exactly what to do.

"Too many chances are missed with strikers rushing the finish, stressing, but the best ones have that little extra half a second, and he does."

Greenwood's strike rescued a point for United and extended their unbeaten Premier League run to six consecutive matches, but they could not break down Everton.

Solskjaer felt his side did not deserve to go behind in the first half, claiming United goalkeeper David de Gea was fouled before Victor Lindelof's own-goal, and expressed his disappointment that the VAR did not bring about a different decision.

"It's a foul. It's as clear as that, but there's no point me complaining," he said. "It [VAR] will be better next year, for sure. We'll have to look at it. That's a clear and obvious foul.

"They got the goal and had something to hold onto. I don't want to go down the route [of saying] that we always struggle against teams that lay low, because we don't.

"It's a work in progress and these young boys are learning. The tempo of the ball wasn't good enough and it has to move quicker, but these boys will learn that."

Reflecting on his first 12 months in charge at Old Trafford, he added: "I've really enjoyed it. I feel that we're on the right track. I'm looking forward to going into work tomorrow because these boys want to learn and improve."

Mason Greenwood scored 13 minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Manchester United and deny Everton caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson a second consecutive Premier League victory.

United went into the game hoping to claim a third consecutive league win for the first time since January but David de Gea's failure to clear a first-half corner led to Victor Lindelof putting through his own net.

Everton defended resolutely as they sought to build on their 3-1 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park, and the commitment shown by a side lacking a number of key players will raise inevitable questions about Ferguson taking the manager's job on a permanent basis.

But United substitute Greenwood produced the cutting edge in attack that the hosts had been lacking and his strike ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men extended their unbeaten streak to six league matches.

Jesse Lingard dragged a shot wide on the turn from eight yards after United swept forward from the kick-off.

Marcus Rashford and Daniel James both went close, feeding on incisive long passes Lindelof and Scott McTominay, before Jordan Pickford parried a dipping Rashford free-kick away from danger as Everton continued to come under pressure.

Without the pace to hit United on the counter-attack, the visitors took a more patient approach and were rewarded when Leighton Baines' corner was misjudged by De Gea and the ball grazed the goalkeeper's knuckles before bouncing off Lindelof's leg and into the unguarded net.

Luke Shaw surged down the United left after an hour and fired a powerful drive that Pickford did well to parry away, and nine minutes later Lindelof curled a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box with Everton pinned back.

United's late pressure paid off when James found Greenwood on the edge of the box and the teenager tucked a low drive into the bottom corner of Pickford's net to spare United's blushes.

What does it mean? Low press remains a problem for Solskjaer

Manchester City's open, attacking play created space for United to play in when they won the derby, but Everton's packed rearguard proved trickier for Rashford and James to unpick until Greenwood's intervention.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer still cannot rely on the composure of a defence that has conceded in 12 consecutive league games – the first time United have done so since 1971.

Holgate and Davies fill the gap

With Gylfi Sigurdsson and Djibril Sidibe falling ill before the game, responsibility in the middle of Everton's midfield fell to Tom Davies and Mason Holgate, who coped admirably in protecting the back four and breaking up play.

Lacklustre Lingard highlights Pogba absence

Neither Juan Mata nor Lingard have made convincing claims to be United's first-choice attacking midfielder in Paul Pogba's enforced absence this season, and the latter was too often a bystander here while his team-mates struggling to turn the game.

What's next?

After Colchester United visit Old Trafford in the League Cup on Wednesday, Manchester United travel to Watford in the Premier League while Everton entertain Leicester City in the cup and Arsenal in the league.

Sergio Romero still feels he is living the dream at Manchester United despite acknowledging frustration over being a permanent back-up.

Romero, 32, joined United from Sampdoria in 2015, allowing him to link up once again with his former AZ coach Louis van Gaal.

Although the Dutchman did not last at United, Romero has continued to be a valuable asset to the club, with predecessor Jose Mourinho and his successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeping him on as the back-up to David de Gea.

Throughout Romero's time at United he has had to contend with being second choice, though under Mourinho the Argentina international featured prominently in the victorious Europa League campaign of 2016-17, even playing the final.

Although he has not played a Premier League game since May 2018, Romero has made three European appearances this season – but he could not hide his frustration at not being a regular starter.

"It's not easy, but I work every day for this, for this possibility," Romero said on Wednesday ahead of facing his former team AZ this Thursday.

"When I have my chance in the squad to play, I am ready for this moment. I think in the last four years I have been in a difficult situation because I have played for the national team for years.

"But I am ready, I work every day for my chance and when I have my chance I try to do my best.

"When you have David in front [of you] – in the last years David is the best goalkeeper in the world – this is difficult.

"But I work, I am happy, I am in the best club in the world. I tell about another time when I was young, I saw Man United [play] many times and I say, 'one day I want to play in this club'.

"I am here, I am happy, I work, and when I have my chance, I do my best.

"When I got the chance to come to United I knew I accepted that I would be playing a few games, but when you get the chance to wear this shirt it's a dream come true. It's never intention to be second choice."

Paul Pogba will not be fit to face Norwich City on Sunday but David de Gea should be able to make the trip to Carrow Road, according to Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United are in Serbia ahead of a Europa League clash with Partizan Belgrade, though neither Pogba nor De Gea are in the travelling party.

Pogba last featured at the end of September having sustained a foot injury, while De Gea has recently struggled with a groin strain.

De Gea was able to take his place in United's starting XI on Sunday in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool despite appearing to be a doubt after hurting himself on international duty.

Solskjaer is unwilling to risk the Spaniard in Belgrade, with youngster Matej Kovar joining Sergio Romero and Lee Grant as the three goalkeepers, while Pogba remains sidelined even for the weekend journey to Norfolk.

"De Gea will be ready for Sunday but we didn’t take a risk with him travelling here," Solskjaer told reporters on Wednesday.

"Paul? No," Solskjaer later added when asked if Pogba could feature against Norwich.

United head into Thursday's game at Partizan second to them in Group L by virtue of scoring fewer goals.

They have not won away from home in any competition since beating Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in March.

Paul Pogba and David de Gea will not be involved for Manchester United against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, but Jesse Lingard is back in the fold.

Neither Pogba nor De Gea took part in the Red Devils' training session at Carrington on Wednesday and both were missing from the squad list travelling to Serbia.

Pogba has been absent since September 30 due to a toe injury but reports suggested he may have played a part in the fixture, while Spain goalkeeper De Gea featured in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool despite having sustained a groin injury on international duty.

Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic also miss the trip for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, but there is better news over Lingard.

The England international injured his hamstring in United's previous Europa League outing, which ended in a goalless draw at AZ on October 3.

United are second in Group L with four points from two matches.

 

Squad in full: Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Matej Kovar; Phil Jones, Ethan Laird, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Marcos Rojo, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams; Fred, James Garner, Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira; Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.

Paul Pogba and David de Gea missed training on Wednesday ahead of Manchester United's trip to Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League.

Pogba has not played since September 30 due to a toe injury but there had been suggestions he could be fit for the clash in Serbia.

De Gea starred in United's 1-1 Premier League draw with leaders Liverpool on Sunday but failed to appear for the open section of training at Carrington.

Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot and Axel Tuanzebe were also absent but there was some better news for boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Jesse Lingard making an appearance following a spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring problem.

United lie second in Group L, level on points with Partizan, after a win over Astana and a draw with AZ Alkmaar.

David de Gea's fitness will be assessed ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash with Liverpool, which Paul Pogba will miss.

Goalkeeper De Gea appeared to suffer a groin injury during Spain's 1-1 draw with Sweden in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been hampered by an ankle injury this season and played only twice for United in September.

He had taken part in warm-weather training in Dubai this week but will be reduced to the role of spectator on Sunday as United aim to deal their great rivals a first league defeat of the season.

Solskjaer does not expect De Gea to be fit for the visit of the league leaders but will wait on the results of tests on the 28-year-old. Sergio Romero would likely deputise in his absence.

"No chance," Solskjaer said to Sky Sports of Pogba's hopes of playing in the fixture.

"Paul, he had an injury, came back, worked really hard, came back, played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier.

"We had a scan after the Arsenal game and he needed a few weeks' rest in a boot. Hopefully he won't be too long but he won't make this game."

United go into this weekend's game in 12th position and 15 points behind Liverpool, who are eight points clear at the top having taken maximum points from their first eight league games.

David de Gea's fitness will be assessed ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash with Liverpool, which Paul Pogba will miss.

Goalkeeper De Gea appeared to suffer a groin injury during Spain's 1-1 draw with Sweden in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been hampered by an ankle injury this season and played only twice for United in September.

He had taken part in warm-weather training in Dubai this week but will be reduced to the role of spectator on Sunday as United aim to deal their great rivals a first league defeat of the season.

Solskjaer does not expect De Gea to be fit for the visit of the league leaders but waill wait on the results of tests on the 28-year-old. Sergio Romero would likely deputise in his absence.

"No chance," Solskjaer said to Sky Sports of Pogba's hopes of playing in the fixture.

"Paul, he had an injury, came back, worked really hard, came back, played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier.

"We had a scan after the Arsenal game and he needed a few weeks rest in a boot. Hopefully he won't be too long but he won't make this game."

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed David de Gea and Paul Pogba will miss Manchester United's Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday.

Dani Ceballos acknowledged Spain were made to suffer before sealing their place at Euro 2020 with a dramatic 1-1 draw in Sweden.

Marcus Berg's 50th-minute opener and an abductor injury for David de Gea looked set to add up to a frustrating outing for Robert Moreno's men on Tuesday.

But Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno came off the bench to poach a stoppage-time equaliser and make certain of qualification for next year's European Championship.

Spain were on the receiving end of a similar fightback when Norway snatched a 1-1 draw in their previous match and Arsenal playmaker Ceballos – who operated at the tip of a midfield diamond during an impressive opening – noted improvement in Stockholm.

"Against Norway we were more hesitant. Today we were very plugged in," Ceballos said.

"If Thiago [Alcantara's] chance had gone in, the game would have been different. The team is growing, it's time to be united for Euro 2020.

"The point gives us glory. In the first 30 minutes we dominated, but then it was complicated by the goal and injury to De Gea.

"The team has known how to suffer and we leave with good feelings of achieving our goal.

Moreno made six changes to the side that faced Norway but Spain's squad unity looked in good order as the bench deliriously joined in Rodrigo's celebrations.

"It has been crazy to look at the bench and see [unused substitute Sergio] Busquets celebrate with Rodrigo," Ceballos added.

"That reflects the good atmosphere of the dressing room, with the coach also celebrating like crazy. We have a good dressing room."

David de Gea suffered an abductor injury during Spain's Euro 2020 qualification-sealing draw in Sweden, head coach Robert Moreno confirmed.

De Gea hobbled off after an hour of the 1-1 draw at the Friends Arena, where substitute Rodrigo Moreno came off the bench to snatch an equaliser in stoppage time on Tuesday.

The news comes as a huge blow to Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of Sunday's highly anticipated showdown against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford.

"De Gea was treated at the break and decided to continue," Moreno explained after the United star appeared discomforted following a first-half clearance.

"He has a puncture in the abductor."

Spain generally struggled for their fluent best during this international break, with a 1-1 draw against Norway in their previous match coming in parallel circumstances as Josh King pegged them back through a last-gasp penalty.

"The same result, one day it tastes like victory and the other one like defeat," Moreno said.

"I am happy with the team's game and with the players I have. It was a difficult game against a rival that eliminated great teams in the World Cup. We are very happy "

Moreno took charge of Spain full-time after Luis Enrique stepped down in June to spend time with his family.

The former Barcelona coach's daughter Xana died in August aged nine, having suffered from osteosarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer.

"When you become a high-level team, like Spain, it is an obligation to qualify you," Moreno added.

"I want to remember Luis Enrique and his family and dedicate the qualification to them."

Rodrigo Moreno came off the bench to snatch a last-gasp 1-1 draw in Sweden and confirm Spain's place at Euro 2020.

Inspired saves from Robin Olsen and an injury to their own goalkeeper, David de Gea, added up to what was starting to look like a wretched outing at the Friends Arena for Robert Moreno's men.

But Rodrigo, who was dropped to the bench as his coach made six changes to the XI held by Norway last time out, reacted sharply to prod in from close range.

Sweden rode out an early storm to hit the front through Marcus Berg in the 50th minute and still have their fate in their own hands ahead of pivotal trip to Romania next month.

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