Title-chasing Liverpool require perfect finish, says Virgil van Dijk

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Virgil van Dijk says Liverpool must win their three remaining Premier League games to have a chance of claiming a first domestic title since 1990.

Leaders Liverpool achieved their longest winning streak since April 2014 with Sunday’s 2-0 success at Cardiff making it nine victories on the trot.

The result also saw Liverpool set a new club points record in the Premier League – taking them on to 88 and eclipsing the 86 Rafael Benitez’s side managed 10 years ago in finishing runners-up to Manchester United.

But Manchester City will take a one-point advantage by winning their game in hand on Wednesday.

Asked if Liverpool needed to win all their remaining games, Van Dijk replied: “One hundred per cent. That’s the only thing we are going to focus on.

“We have three games left and we are going to try and win all of them. It’s going to be very hard, but that’s what we’re looking to do.

“We did our job (at Cardiff). We had to stay patient, but it was a very mature performance and it was good to get the three points.

“Our next challenge is going to be on Friday, so we’ll see.”

Liverpool start their closing fixtures with an Anfield visit from relegated Huddersfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side then head to Newcastle before hosting Wolves on the final day of the season.

City play Leicester at home and have away games at Brighton, Burnley and Manchester United, the derby at Old Trafford on Wednesday being their game in hand.

Struggling United must seek to bounce back from a 4-0 thrashing at Everton on Sunday, their sixth defeat in eight games.

“They need to do themselves a favour,” Van Dijk said when asked if United could help out Liverpool.

“Everton is not easy to beat at home, but 4-0 is a big result.

“We have no influence on that, but they are still playing for Champions League football and they need to get a result.”

Cardiff remain in the final relegation spot and three points adrift of Brighton, who have a game in hand.

But Brighton have failed to score in their last six games and have a tough run-in with fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle and Tottenham.
“I definitely think we can get out of it,” said Cardiff defender Lee Peltier.

“We’re putting in decent performances so hopefully we can pick up more points.

“We’ve got Crystal Palace and Fulham to look forward to and I think we can go there and get points.

“The manager was pleased with the way we set up against one of the best teams in the world.

“I thought we did all right against them as we limited them a lot. We’ve just got to keep on going.”

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Kylian Mbappe hat-trick earns title-winning PSG victory over Monaco

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Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris St Germain celebrated winning the Ligue 1 title with a 3-1 victory against Monaco.

After failing to regain their crown in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons was confirmed prior to Sunday night’s game after Lille’s goalless draw at Toulouse earlier in the day.

It was not quite a party atmosphere at the Parc des Princes, owing to the fire this week at Notre Dame in Paris. PSG replaced the player names on the back on their shirts with the name of the cathedral while the fronts sported an image of the partially destroyed landmark.

During the pre-match warm-up, Mbappe greeted Paris firefighters and their children on the pitch. When the game started, the 20-year-old punished his former club with three goals.

Mbappe also saw a shot come back off a post while Monaco saw several chances go to waste before Aleksandr Golovin finally found the back of the net for the visitors with 10 minutes remaining.

Thilo Kehrer could be an injury doubt for the French Cup final after the defender hobbled from the pitch holding his hamstring in the final minutes, leaving PSG to finish the match with 10 men.

Only St Etienne (10) and Marseille (9) have won more Ligue 1 titles now than PSG, whose eighth championship puts them level with Nantes and Monaco.

St Etienne regained fourth spot in Ligue 1 with a 2-0 win at Reims thanks to Remy Cabella’s strike and an own goal by Bjorn Engels.

Nantes made it three wins on the spin with a 3-2 home victory against Amiens. Two goals from Kalifa Coulibaly and another by Valentin Rongier had the hosts in control but Amiens made a game of it when Ferney Otero and Cheick Timite netted replies.

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Still work to do in the title race, says Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde

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Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde warned his side still have work to do to defend their La Liga title despite boasting a nine-point lead with five games to go.

Barca ground out a hard-fought 2-1 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday night, turning to the unlikely scoring duo of Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba to see off their battling visitors.

The three points move treble-chasing Barca another significant step closer to the crown as they responded to Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 win at Eibar earlier in the day.

“Today was always going to be a very important game and we have nine points left until we’re champions, but it’s very difficult to win,” Valverde said in comments reported by Marca.

“I know that people say we’re already champions, but we’re not.

“We have to go game by game to win until the end. This is not over, not until we get to the last game is everything done. It will always be difficult.”

Barca were a long way from their best against Sociedad, with Valverde admitting they struggled to find their rhythm after victory over Manchester United in the Champions League in midweek.

“When there is a game like the one against Manchester United, which is the centre of attention, you then have to get back to remotivating the team for another game which is fundamental,” he said.

“The games after Champions League matches are difficult for us. The game was uncomfortable, as they played well and tried to bring the play out from the back. We could not bring it out as we wanted to.

“We lacked a spark and freshness to be able to settle the game.”

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