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With new protests outside, Man United loses 4-2 to Liverpool

The beefed-up defense outside Old Trafford was more robust than Manchester United's on the pitch inside.

While United supporters again protested against the club's owners — facing riot police and new steel barriers to guard the entrances — the game against Liverpool went ahead as planned after being called off 11 days when some fans were able to storm the pitch.

United might have wished it hadn't, losing 4-2 for its first home defeat against its fiercest rival since Jürgen Klopp took charge of Liverpool six years ago.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, down, celebrates with Liverpool's Curtis Jones after scoring his side's fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool, at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (Peter PowellPool via AP)

The sloppy defensive display by United was more demoralizing than impactful given the club has a four-point cushion in second place with two games remaining.

But for Liverpool, which was playing its first game since its reign as champion was officially ended by Manchester City, the win means the reset target of just making the Champions League is still a possibility. With three games remaining, Liverpool is four points behind fourth-place Chelsea with a game in hand.

After Bruno Fernandes' deflected strike put United ahead in the 10th minute, Diogo Jota leveled and Roberto Firmino put Liverpool ahead in first-half stoppage time. A rapid impact within two minutes of the second half saw Jota extend the lead. Although Marcus Rashford pulled one back, Mohamed Salah curled in Liverpool's fourth in the 90th minute.

Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson, right, makes a save in front of Manchester United's Mason Greenwood during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool, at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP PhotoDave Thompson, Pool)

While United is unbeaten on the road, this was a sixth loss of the Premier League season at a home that will have the fans back inside next week for the first time since before the pandemic in March 2020.

In Thursday's other game, Everton moved into eighth place with a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa.

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Liverpool's Andrew Robertson, left, duels for the ball with Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool, at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP PhotoDave Thompson, Pool)