Liverpool find themselves nine points clear at the summit of the Premier League table thanks to a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Anfield.
Goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané gave the rampant Reds a 3-0 lead before Bernardo Silva snatched a late consolation for the visitors.
Manager Jurgen Klopp elected to pick what is known as his tried and tested midfield — with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum ahead of Fabinho — and he was rewarded in a performance of tactical and physical dominance.
Fabinho, in particular, was dominant throughout and not only in a defensive sense. The Brazilian offered an attacking thrust, too, and it was through him that the European Champions opened the scoring.
Mané’s cross from the left flank into the City box caused consternation and a limp clearance found Fabinho outside the box. With time to compose himself, the former Monaco man walloped a 25 yard strike into the left corner and past Claudio Bravo for a goal that sent Anfield into raptures after six minutes.
City were growing into the game and probing, but it wasn’t long before the famous old ground erupted with noise again.
In a game with technical footballers of the ilk of Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, Trent Alexander Arnold stood out as a beacon of creative application and quality and it was through the academy full back’s pass that Liverpool doubled their lead.
Alexander Arnold’s searching and arched, left footed pass completely filleted Pep Guardiola’s midfield and found Andrew Robertson on the front foot. The Scot then produced a cross of the highest calibre, perfectly bouncing into the path of Mohamed Salah. Despite the pinpoint accuracy of the cross, the Egyptian scoring was no gimme. But the reigning Premier League golden boot winner deftly directed the ball past Bravo with his head for 2-0.
Staring down the barrel of a big defeat the visitors kept pushing, with Aguero neatly knitting the play when dropping deep from his centre forward role, but the Reds held firm. Angelino, starting at left back ahead of Benjamin Mendy, almost grabbed a goal back when his deflected strike hit the outside of Alisson’s post, but Liverpool held their 2-0 lead at the break.
Two goals became three just after the break when Mané headed past the despairing Bravo. Jordan Henderson, showing no ill signs of the virus that afflicted him during the week, powered past Kyle Walker and when tight to the right hand touchline fashioned a brilliant cross for Mané.
The Senegalese’s power prevented Bravo — who got a hand to the ball – from keeping the header out and the table toppers were in dreamland and held a commanding 3-0 lead.
Predictably, the defending Premier League Champions began to assert themselves after the concession of the third. Using Raheem Sterling heavily, City created a glut of half chances — with Walker and Bernardo both going close — but Liverpool remained defensively sturdy.
Finally, after what felt like an interminable wait, the light blues broke their goal scoring duck.
In a move seen a thousand times before, City scored from a cut back from the touchline. Angelino supplied the cross and Bernardo, with the aid of a deflection from Lovren, supplied the finish on the 78th minute mark.
A nervy final 12 minutes awaited the Anfield faithful, but Liverpool — who brought on Joe Gomez to shore up their right hand side and counteract Sterling’s influence — held on for a massive win in the context of the Premier League title race.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané.
Substitutions: Milner for Henderson, Oxlade Chamberlain for Firmino, Gomez for Salah.
Subs not used: Adrian, Lallana, Keita, Origi.