Liverpool moved six points clear at the Premier League summit after a scintillating display against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s champions had drawn four and lost one of their top-flight games on the road following a 2-0 win at Chelsea on September 20, but a return to winning ways away from Anfield was never in doubt after Takumi Minamino’s opener after 125 seconds.
They followed that up with fine goals from Sadio Mane and Firmino before half-time, while Jordan Henderson, Firmino and a brace from substitute Salah sealed a stunning victory in the second period.
WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 19, 2020
Liverpool wasted little time asserting their authority on the game, Minamino lashing his first Premier League goal into Vicente Guaita’s bottom-right corner from 10 yards after being teed up by Mane.
The Reds doubled their advantage against the run of play 10 minutes before the interval, Mane flashing a fine strike past Guaita from 15 yards after collecting Firmino’s pass.
They then capped a wonderful first half in the 44th minute, Firmino controlling Andy Robertson’s cross before superbly flicking past a helpless Guaita with the outside of his foot.
Things went from bad to worse for Palace after the restart as Henderson grabbed his first goal of the season, the captain expertly whipping into the far corner from 22 yards after being set up by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Firmino then added his second in the 68th minute, lifting over Guaita from Salah’s incisive pass before the Egypt international added a sixth with a close-range header nine minutes from time.
Salah added further gloss to the scoreline three minutes later, curling into Guatia’s top-right corner from outside the penalty area.
7 – Liverpool registered an away top-flight win by a margin of seven goals for the first time in their history, while it was their first seven-goal league victory since a 9-0 win over Crystal Palace in September 1989. Domination. pic.twitter.com/OWScT0qaqy
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 19, 2020
What does it mean? Palace powerless to stop ruthless Reds
It speaks volumes for Liverpool’s utter ruthlessness that their seven goals came from just eight shots on target. The champions sealed their biggest ever away win in the top flight with a display of breathtaking finishing that Palace simply had no answer to.
As for the Eagles, they will have to lick their wounds after conceding seven goals in a home match for the first time in their history.
Mane returns to form against favourite opponents
He had failed to score in his previous nine games, but few things in football are as guaranteed as a Mane goal against Palace. The Senegal international became only the fourth player in Premier League history to score in seven consecutive appearances against the same opponent, with only Robin van Persie (eight v Stoke) scoring more.
Van Aanholt endures a game to forget
Patrick van Aanholt was given a torrid time by Liverpool’s mesmerising forwards. The Netherlands international lost possession a team-high 21 times and finished the match with a pass completion rate of just 68.1 per cent – the lowest of any Palace starter.