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Liverpool 4-3 Crystal Palace: Salah scores 2 in tight win

MANCHESTER, England -- Marcus Rashford is making a case to be considered the best striker in the Premier League, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 21-year-old scored his seventh goal in his last 10 games as Manchester United beat Brighton 2-1 to maintain Solskjaer's perfect start as Old Trafford boss.

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"You can argue for many strikers but I'm glad he's in my team," Solskjaer said. "Harry Kane is injured so maybe that gives him the best chance to be the best one at the moment.

"No one beats him on work-rate, no one beats him on attitude and he's very confident in front of goal at the moment, he finishes, tries to shoot, he doesn't think twice about it.

"I think he's playing the best football in his career."

Victory over Chris Hughton's side took Solskjaer's winning run to seven ahead of a trip to Arsenal in the FA Cup on Friday night.

Rashford's fine solo goal made it 2-0 after Paul Pogba had scored his 10th of the season from the penalty spot.

Pascal Gross pulled one back for Brighton in the second half to set up a nervy finish and Solskjaer admitted the final 20 minutes proved there is still room for improvement.

"We need to improve on quite a few things," Solskjaer said. "Defensively, we need to find our shape better, towards the end like today, we need to defend better with the ball, OK, we're under the cosh, winning 2-1, keep it away from them, let them run and try and get the ball.

"At times today we played some fantastic football and should have scored two or three in the beginning of the second-half."

United face Arsenal, Burnley, Leicester and Fulham before title-challengers Liverpool visit Old Trafford on Feb.24.

The nine straight victories under Jose Mourinho during the 2016-17 season is United's longest run since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and Solskjaer has challenged his squad to pass it.

"The gaffer [Ferguson] used to challenge us at times with 'Why can't you win 10 games on the bounce?'" Solskjaer said.

"As long as you take one game at a time and prepare well we should go into any game as winnable one, we have had some tough years at the club. It's a challenge for us to get to where we as a club should be."

Man United won their seventh straight game under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer through goals from Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.

MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United's made it seven straight wins under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thanks to a fantastic goal from Marcus Rashford on his 150th appearance for the club.

Rashford scored the second against Brighton at Old Trafford, after Paul Pogba has scored a penalty earlier, to help United to a 2-1 win over Chris Hughton's side. Pascal Gross scored for the visitors in the second half.

Rashford got the better of Gross inside the penalty area before lifting his finish beyond David Button and into the top corner to score for the fourth consecutive Premier League game.

It helped maintain Solskjaer's perfect start as United boss as he became just the third manager to win his first six Premier League games after Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte.

Positives

Rashford's talent has never been in question but under Solskjaer he has transformed into a prolific centre-forward. His goal against Brighton was his fifth in his last six starts and he has now scored in four straight league games for the first time in his career. The 21-year-old is benefitting from a run of games as the central striker instead of playing back-up to Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian faces a challenge to get back into the team.

Negatives

Solskjaer will be unhappy about the nature of Brighton's goal which got them back into the game. The visitors rarely threatened but United switched off to allow Davy Propper to cross towards the back post before Gross got between Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot to stab the ball high into the net.

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Manager Rating out of 10

7 -- Solskjaer left the United team unchanged for back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since Dec. 2017 only for Luke Shaw to be ruled out during the warm-up because of illness. He was accused of tinkering too much during his short spell at Cardiff and it he seems to have learned from his mistakes.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 7 -- Denied a third consecutive Premier League clean sheet by Pascal Gross' goal. Could do nothing about the finish after it went in off the bar.

DF Ashley Young, 7 -- Had to be more cautious against Tottenham but was flying up and down the right against Brighton. Created a good chance for Rashford.

DF Diogo Dalot, 7 -- A late addition after Luke Shaw had to pull out of the team in the warm-up because of illness. Involved in Rashford's goal with a determined run forward from left-back. Partly to blame for Gross' goal.

DF Phil Jones, 7 -- Won his battle with Glenn Murray and the Brighton striker had to be substituted early in the second half. Might feel he could have done more to deal with Propper's cross which led to Gross' goal.

DF Victor Lindelof, 7 -- Came close with header from a Young corner that looped just over the crossbar. Hit one fantastic 40-yard pass from the back to create a chance for Anthony Martial.

MF Nemanja Matic, 7 -- Did well to stick with Lewis Dunk when it looked like the Brighton defender might head the visitors in front in the first half. Seemed to tire in the second half.

MF Ander Herrera, 7 -- Wonderful energy to keep pressing Brighton's midfield until the last minute. Linked well with Young on the right.

MF Paul Pogba, 7 -- Unlucky not to score with an overhead kick before winning and scoring the penalty that put United in front. The goal was his 10th goal of the season and one more will make it the most productive campaign of his career.

FW Jesse Lingard, 7 -- Should have scored early in the second half from a Rashford cross which was drilled across goal. Sacrificed for Juan Mata immediately after Brighton's goal.

FW Anthony Martial, 8 -- Dangerous and direct on the left of the front three and was only denied a goal by a terrific reflex save from Button after expertly bringing down Lindelof's pass.

FW Marcus Rashford, 9 -- Brilliant in his 150th game for the club. Scored a sensational solo goal but also dropped deep to link play and created one golden chance for Lingard.

Substitutes:

FW Juan Mata (for Jesse Lingard, 75) -- Came on to provide a little more security and ensure United held on for all three points.

FW Romelu Lukaku (for Anthony Martial, 82) -- Got a 10-minute cameo but Rashford's scintillating form is bad news for the Belgian.

DF Matteo Darmian (for Marcus Rashford, 90) -- Was only on the pitch for a few minutes as United tried to run out the clock.

LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool re-established a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a breathtaking 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday. But the Reds had to come from a goal down and were hanging on in the final seconds with 10-men after Max Meyer's injury-time goal.

Positives

This was another example of Liverpool coming through moments of adversity with three points. This win will have Liverpool and their supporters continuing to believe that it really could be their year to win the title. Meanwhile, Mo Salah became the first Egyptian player to score 50 Premier League goals. His double were not the prettiest of his career, although his predatory instinct is proving vital to Liverpool's title challenge.

Negatives

Liverpool never appeared to have any sense of control on this game; Palace always felt they had a chance of snatching something, which left manager Jurgen Klopp furious on the sideline. The maturity that Klopp's side have displayed in abundance this season was painfully absent here and now they are running out of right-backs. James Milner filled in, but will now be suspended for one match after being sent off.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Whatever Klopp said to his players at the break worked a treat, and it's not the first time this season. Liverpool had plenty of possession in the first half but did very little with it. They raced out of the blocks as the second half started, taking more risks and becoming more of a threat. But their overeagerness was probably why this game turned incredibly frantic.

Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alisson, 6 -- The Brazilian must have been freezing on a cold day on Merseyside. Palace's goals were the only time he was called upon and he could not really do much with any of them.

DF James Milner, 4 -- Required to play at right-back again due to injuries, Wilfried Zaha toyed with him for 89 minutes. He picked up two yellows for definite fouls on Zaha and was sent off. DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 -- Not called upon much defensively but saw lots of the ball with Palace firmly camped in their own half. It was his speculative long-range shot that led to Liverpool's first goal.

DF Joel Matip, 6 -- Back for the first time after breaking his collarbone. Defended relatively well and could have scored on two occasions in the first half.

DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- Celebrated his new contract by bringing up a century of Premier League appearances. A typically dependable performance; he just never stops running.

MF Fabinho, 7 -- Returned to the midfield and looked bright, displaying some good vision at times. Liverpool will hope the injury he suffered late on is not serious.

MF Jordan Henderson, 6 -- Had a thankless task when Palace looked to break as he was left too isolated.

FW Naby Keita, 5 -- Needed a big performance to justify a starting spot ahead of Xherdan Shaqiri, but still blows too hot and cold in matches. He can technically claim an assist for Roberto Firmino's goal, which should give him some much-needed confidence.

FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- Very quiet out of the right flank, having been moved out there to accommodate Keita, in the opening 45 minutes. Drifted in centrally following half-time and had lots more joy. Scored from an incredibly tight angle.

FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Displayed some brilliant footwork in the penalty area to score and send Anfield wild, but overshone by Salah.

FW Mohamed Salah, 9 -- Palace's defenders were terrified whenever Salah had the ball. The problem was that those moments were few are far between in the first half. The reigning Golden Boot holder was in the right place at the right time on two occasions to net vital goals.

Substitutes

FW Xherdan Shaqiri (71), N/R -- He looked more comfortable than Keita in the team.

MF Adam Lallana (87), N/R -- A few nice touches on the ball.

DF Rafael Camacho (90), N/R -- The 18-year-old could be playing at right-back against Leicester City in 11 days' time.

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