Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring against Manchester City, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023 (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — It was a big day for Manchester United, whose renaissance under Erik ten Hag is really taking shape.
As if a win against Manchester City in the 189th Manchester derby wasn’t enough to rejoice the fans at Old Trafford on Saturday, they got some good news hours later when Liverpool shockingly lost 3-0 to Brighton in the Premier League.
Beating City 2-1, United strengthened the belief that Ten Hag is changing the fortunes of the 20-time English champions.
It seems too soon for the Dutchman to really challenge for the title this season, but United’s improvement to a record nine successive wins in all competitions is evident.
United moved into third place in the standings — one point behind City and six behind leaders Arsenal, who face Tottenham on Sunday.
“We improved, that’s obvious,” Ten Hag said. “Still a long way to go, many aspects to improve in our game, but we are making progress.”
United hold a 10-point lead over arch rivals Liverpool, who suffered their sixth league defeat this season and first at Brighton since 1961.
Solly March scored a brace and substitute Danny Welbeck added the third for Brighton.
Jürgen Klopp’s team will have to fight simply to qualify for the Champions League after the most recent blow, which left Liverpool seven points behind Newcastle, which is fourth.
“Everything went wrong from start to finish. Brighton was better than us in every way. It’s a low point for the team,” admitted Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
Bottom of the table, Southampton followed up their League Cup win against City in midweek by beating Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park.
Nottingham Forest increased their chances of survival by beating Leicester 2-0 and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat West Ham 1-0 to leave the relegation zone.
Ivan Toney scored his 14th goal of the season in Brentford’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
Marcus Rashford scored his 16th goal of the season and eighth in his last seven outings, but Ten Hag preferred to credit his physical durability over his strike in the win over City.
“He knows that in football you have to suffer and sacrifice and have painful moments, especially a player like him,” Ten Hag said. “He is unstoppable and the rivals will go hard against him, but he continues and received an award and rewarded the team.
LOOK AT THE ZERBI
Two goals from Solly March brought another brilliant result to Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi against Liverpool.
“I love playing for Roberto de Zerbi. He puts his arm around you and tells you that you are a good player and maybe that’s what we needed,” March said.
EVERTON PROBLEMS GROW
A day after Everton’s board of directors was told not to attend the home game against Southampton due to a “real and credible threat to their safety”, the team’s hopes of staying away were dealt another blow with a 2-2 defeat. one.
“We have to take responsibility, me first. We have to be better,” acknowledged Everton manager Frank Lampard.
Brighton players celebrate Solly March’s goal against Liverpool at Falmer Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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