Liverpool surged eight points clear at the top of the Premier League by beating Manchester City 3-1 on Sunday, establishing a strong lead after 12 rounds.
Fabinho and Mohamed Salah scored inside the opening 13 minutes before Sadio Mane headed in after the break to make it 11 wins out of 12 for unbeaten Liverpool, which is chasing its first championship since 1990.
Further hindering City's pursuit of a third straight title, Leicester and Chelsea are directly behind Liverpool while the champions are nine points behind in fourth place.
Just a point separated City and Liverpool when the season ended in May. The gulf is vast now between the English and European champions.
Where last season's title race was tense and thrilling, Juergen Klopp's path to the title looks smooth.
Even the Liverpool fans reined in their rancor for the City bus arrival at Anfield. No hurling of objects or smashing of windows like in 2018. Just a chorus of jeers as the visiting coach snaked around the narrow streets into the stadium as a haze of red smoke formed.
City thought it was the referee's vision obscured after five minutes when a penalty wasn't awarded for Trent Alexander-Arnold's outstretched right arm handling the ball. But City midfielder Bernardo Silva had already helped the ball on with his hand in contravention of the new laws of the game.
With play continuing, Liverpool launched a counterattack that saw Mane charge down the left flank from inside his own half.
A cross into the penalty area was half-cleared to Fabinho who struck from distance past Claudio Bravo, who was filling in for the injured Ederson.
A VAR review confirmed referee Michael Oliver was right not to roll back play and award City a penalty at the other end, much to Pep Guardiola's fury on the City bench.
And City's makeshift defense was breached again in the 13th minute, again from a rapid move down the left.
When Andy Robertson sent a cross into the penalty area, Salah got ahead of Fernandinho to head past Bravo.
But far from being demoralized, City made the rest of the half uncomfortable for Liverpool.
Left back Angelino, on only his second Premier League start, saw a shot deflect off the post. And Sergio Aguero dragged a shot wide in a stadium where he has not scored now in eight appearances.
Any prospect of a comeback appeared to be extinguished six minutes into the second half when City was picked apart from another cross.
Mane got on the end of Jordan Henderson's delivery from the right, heading in at the back post.
On a frustrating trip across the northwest for City, Bernardo Silva pulling one back in the 78th minute with a low strike was as good as it got.
WOLVES 2, ASTON VILLA 1
Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez gave Wolverhampton Wanderers a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, ending a month-long wait for a victory in the Premier League on Sunday.
Wolves are unbeaten in seven and just one point behind the top five, sitting in eighth place.
Villa is three points above the relegation zone and missed injured captain Jack Grealish.
The hosts found a breakthrough in the 41st minute. Tyrone Mings brought down Adama Traore on the right and Joao Moutinho squared his free kick to Neves to send in a low drive from 20 yards. It was the midfielder's first goal since August.
Wolves were rarely in danger but took until the 84th to net again. Traore broke down the right and squared for Jimenez to roll in before Trezeguet claimed Villa's stoppage time consolation.
MANCHESTER UNITED 3, BRIGHTON 1
Marcus Rashford struck off the underside of the crossbar to complete Manchester United's 3-1 victory over Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday.
Andreas Pereira put United ahead in the 17th minute before Davy Propper scored an own goal inside two minutes. Rashford netted in the 66th just after Lewis Dunk had reduced the deficit as United rose to seventh in the standings.
Brighton never looked like securing their first ever win at Old Trafford, where Scott McTominay's serious-looking injury late on was a concern.
It was a better afternoon for fellow academy graduate Brandon Williams, who left to a standing ovation after impressing on his first Premier League start.
United showed few signs of fatigue after beating Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday and unnerved the Brighton backline from the outset.
Rashford was unable to follow a superb, weaving run with a fitting finish with the hosts' first clear-cut chance, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side would make the breakthrough in the 17th minute.
Victor Lindelof and Fred were involved in a move that ended with Andreas Pereira racing through the middle.
Dale Stephens' tackle looked to have ended that attack, only for the ball to fall kindly for Martial, with the Frenchman cutting back for the Brazilian to hit a strike that went in off the Brighton midfielder.
Matters would soon get worse for Graham Potter's side after Dunk was booked for a late, clumsy challenge on Daniel James. Fred produced a fine delivery from the resulting freekick, leading to a bundling McTominay effort being prodded over the line by Propper.
The VAR checked Harry Maguire's involvement and, 140 seconds after the ball crossed the line, Old Trafford was able to celebrate fully.
It was a rare set piece goal by United against an Albion side looking far more threatening from dead balls.
Martial saw a handball appeal rejected and Pereira was denied from distance as United returned from the break strongly, but there were a few nervy moments when the stadium announcer confirmed that the VAR was checking for a red card.
Williams and his teammates were relieved to see his high foot on Steven Azalte remain a booking.
Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan was equally relieved when he failed to deal with a Fred shot and it bounced back off the bar - a let-off Brighton capitalised on as Pascal Gross swung over a corner that Dunk was all too easily able to meet with a thumping header home.
But rather than wilt, United rallied and within two minutes restored their two-goal cushion.
Fred's pass put Martial behind the Brighton backline and the Frenchman kept his composure when forced wide, playing back for Rashford to smash home off the underside of the bar.
Only the England forward will know how he failed to score a quickfire second. James superbly raced down the right and sent a low cross over to Rashford, who inexplicably screwed wide at the far post with the goal at his mercy.
It was a remarkable miss but United were undeterred as Williams and James quickly had attempts, before Rashford followed some wonderful footwork with a shot saved at the near post by Ryan.
Martial and Rashford both went close as the match came to a disappointing end as McTominay went down with an injury that saw him leave on a stretcher.© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.