Rampant Liverpool closed the gap on leaders Manchester City to three points after cruising to a sixth Premier League win in a row against Leeds United. Elsewhere, Burnley stunned Spurs 1-0 while Crystal Palace picked up their first Premier League win of 2022.
Jurgen Klopp’s side warmed up for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final with an utterly dominant display that included three goals in 20 first-half minutes.
Two of those came from penalties by Mohamed Salah, who also set up defender Joel Matip for his first goal since December 2020.
Sadio Mane added two late goals and Virgil van Dijk scored with an added-time header.
The margin of Liverpool’s win means they have a superior goal difference to title rivals City, who they are due to meet on 9 April at Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool now have a difference of +50 compared to Pep Guardiola’s side’s +46, with both teams having played 26 games.
“We go on the front foot, but honestly we don’t chase City, we try to win all games, and the thing is now, we have the cup final at the weekend, and City play, I don’t know quite who but they will probably win this game then it is six points again, before we play the next league game” Klopp said.
“And I’m not sure if we play the next game after that, before them or after them, so it might be nine points again all of a sudden. So we don’t have to count these kind of things, we just have to win our football games.’
‘As much as I loved the goals we scored, I loved the clean sheet just as much,’ said Klopp. ‘Everything we do is based on a top organised defensive performance. Without that we are just a good football team – with that we can be a successful football team.”
Elsewhere, Burnley secured back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time in 13 months as skipper Ben Mee scored the only goal to beat Tottenham at a rain-lashed Turf Moor.
Mee rose above Cristian Romero to meet Josh Brownhill’s 71st-minute far-post free-kick perfectly and send it back past Hugo Lloris and into the far corner.
It secured a victory that takes Burnley to within two points of safety given their better goal difference – and within striking distance of three of the four sides immediately above them, given Sean Dyche’s side still have games in hand.
On the other hand this was a bitterly disappointing night for top-four chasing Tottenham, who were a shadow of the side that won at leaders Manchester City on Saturday.
Antonio Cont’e side have lost four of their last five Premier League games, as at the moment they don’t look like a side that can win consistently enough to grab a top-four finish.
Crystal Palace earned their first Premier League win of 2022 with victory over former boss Roy Hodgson’s relegation-threatened Watford at Vicarage Road.
Wilfried Zaha scored two late goals to wrap up the points for Patrick Vieira’s side after Conor Gallagher had put them ahead in the first half.
Chelsea loanee Gallagher guided a deft touch into his path from Tyrick Mitchell’s cross and powered a strike past Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster.
And with the hosts chasing the game late on, Zaha converted with a neat finish from substitute Jordan Ayew’s cross and then added a smart solo goal on the break.