Marcus Rashford struck twice as Manchester United won the North West derby with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The victory opens up a five-point gap on their third-placed rivals.
A long ball from goalkeeper David De Gea was headed on by target-man Romelu Lukaku into the path of Rashford.
The England international then outdid Trent Alexander-Arnold, cut inside on to his right foot and confidently buried the ball in the far corner to open the scoring in the 14th minute.
Ten minutes later, Lukaku was again instrumental. He won another challenge with Dejan Lovren before his pass towards Juan Mata was deflected into the path of Rashford.
The youngster showed great confidence and technique as he beat Loris Karius to make it 2-0.
Liverpool, who have been well below-par, got themselves back into the game in the 66th minute when United defender Eric Bailly made a complete mess of a Sadio Mane cross from the left.
The defender, who had returned to the side after over three months out with injury, mis-struck his clearance past De Gea and into his own goal.
United forward Marcus Rashford said after the match: “These are always big games. It is very tight battling for second position and we want to make sure we get that spot.
“It is partly about patience but you have to take your chance when it comes.
“My first touch was actually a bad touch, I couldn’t finish it in my stride.
“I didn’t know Gareth Southgate was here! It was nice that he was here to watch but there are a lot of players in contention. He keeps in contact with us and let us know where we are at.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed in his post-match interview that his side should have had a penalty when Sadio Mane was challenged by Marouane Fellaini and they deserved at least a point.
“It was a clear penalty with Fellaini on Mane, in situations like this you need the right decision.
“It is all about the result and we lost.”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, however, said both teams dominated at different points in the game.
“We can split the halves – United first half and Liverpool second but in my opinion our first half was a half with goals and danger.
“In the second half – in my opinion, and probably the people in the studio have a different opinion – was Liverpool controlling with the ball and United controlling without the ball.
“Our team was always in control. Even in set pieces, corners, dangerous situations we were in control so I think we deserved it.
“Against Liverpool if you play bad when you have the ball you can be in trouble. In the second half it was not our intention – I cannot say this was the plan.
“Liverpool pushed us into defensive situation but we kept control. It was a complete performance by us with two different halves.
“If people don’t think we deserved it, I don’t care.