Liverpool back on top after Shaqiri double floors Manchester United

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Maybe it was appropriate that José Mourinho and his players stayed at a hotel named after the Titanic. Fill in your own jokes here. Or consider, perhaps, the gloating cries of “Don’t sack Mourinho,” heavy on irony, from Liverpool’s supporters on the day Jürgen Klopp’s team seized back control of a title race where their arch-rivals are barely even an afterthought.

For all the historic rivalry of this fixture it is the other team from along the East Lancs Road that should be uppermost in Liverpool’s thoughts now. Liverpool versus Manchester City is what matters. And United? They are just a memory. Mourinho’s team have conceded more goals in mid-December than they did throughout the whole of last season. They are 19 points off the top and one statistic in particular stood out: 36 shots for Liverpool, their most in any league fixture for two years. It could be years before United are title challengers again and, for a club with their ambitions, who could be surprised if the manager pays the price with his job? At any of his previous clubs it would probably have happened already.

One certainty: Liverpool will enjoy rubbernecking in United’s direction. The league leaders were fortunate in one respect, that Xherdan Shaqiri’s second-half goals both took deflections before beating David de Gea in United’s goal.

Overall, however, who could say they were lucky given the balance of play, the long spells when they pinned their opponents back and the clear suspicion that, but for a dreadful mistake from Alisson, Liverpool’s goalkeeper, it would have been an even more straightforward victory?

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