Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool claimed a magnificent Merseyside derby win as they blew Everton away at Goodison Park.
It has been somewhat of a bogey ground for the Anfield side in recent seasons, winning just once in their last nine meetings.
But they rewrote the history books to record their biggest win over their arch rivals since a famous 5-0 win in 1982, 39 years ago.
A defeat of such magnitude increases the pressure on former Kop legend Rafa Benitez significantly, as he appeared lost for words at the final whistle.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are firmly in the title race just one point off Manchester City, and two off Chelsea as they continue to chase down top spot.
The visitors immediately showed an air of confidence as they attacked the Everton goal.
Fabinho and Mohamed Salah combined for a nice one-two, before the defensive lynchpin pinged a nice ball to Sadio Mane, who found the pacey Egyptian who ran in but saw his effort saved by Jordan Pickford.
Liverpool continued to thunder forward as captain Jordan Henderson clipped a beautiful pass to Mane.
The Senegalese teed up Andrew Robertson, and the full-back found Henderson on the edge of the penalty area, and the England midfielder’s curling drive whizzed past Pickford, a sublime goal.
And the skipper beat the Liverpool badge in celebration.
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Another nice move saw Joel Matip, Henderson, Salah and the dribbling skills of Diogo Jota, set up Trent Alexander-Arnold, who’s long range piledriver was impressively kept out by England number one Pickford.
But Klopp’s men did make it 2-0, as Jota and Thiago Alcántara won the ball back, before Henderson side-footed a wonderful through ball to Salah.
The Egyptian raced away, before applying a swift and stunning finish into the far corner and beyond the reach of Pickford.
Again, Salah showing why he could be the hottest striker in world football right now.
But Everton hit back as Richarlison set up Demarai Gray, who nutmegged Alisson one-on-one to give the Toffees a glimmer of hope, just before half-time.
The derby was alive again but it was Liverpool who went into the interval 2-1 ahead, very much in the driving seat.
Going into the second 45 minutes, it was clear that the next goal would be absolutely crucial.
If Everton equalised from 2-0 down, it would be game on.
A third for Liverpool would be game over.
And so the later did happen, in the 64th minute, as a sloppy pass from Gray was mistouched by captain Seamus Coleman, and Salah nicked the ball from the halfway line, before sprinting away and angling a lovely low finish beyond the grasp of Pickford.
3-1 Liverpool as Salah, Robertson, Jota, Henderson and Mane joined in the celebrations.
A wonderful goal from the Egyptian.
And in the 78th minute, it was soon the icing on the cake for the Reds as Robertson slipped in Jota, and the Portuguese turned former Napoli midfielder Allan inside out, with an exquisite turn, before slamming the ball past Pickford with a banger.
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Klopp punched the air with a broad smile.
Having destroyed Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford, and Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield in recent weeks, this was yet another quality performance to add to the vintage Liverpool memory bank.
‘Best performance at Goodison’ – Klopp
The boss looked delighted after the match, and gave his reaction on Amazon Prime.
“Later on, I will enjoy watching it because I know the result, that helps it.
“There were moments tonight that I enjoyed a lot. I liked what I saw and it was by far the best performance we’ve had at Goodison,” said the German.
“We made a big step in our development that we can take into these kind of games, being able to put emotions to one side.
“What football moments we had in the first half – incredible. The positions we put ourselves in on the pitch made it really difficult to get at us,” Klopp said.
“But we weren’t ruthless, and we got a bit carried away and were much too open, which can happen when you are superior.
“We gave a goal away for no reason – that is how it is. The crowd were booing and whistling, and we gave them life back.
“After half-time we controlled the match again. It was for sure a nine out of 10 performance from each of the boys, apart from moments.
“We were in the right mindset to finish the game off.”
Salah all smiles
This season, everything he’s touched has turned to gold.
And the matchwinner Salah was delighted with his team’s display.
“It’s a great result to come here and play good football. It’s unbelievable.
“We won here 4-1 and Manchester United 5-0, so we are doing a good job in the league and hopefully we can continue like that,” said the Egyptian king.
“Hopefully I will score many more. I hope to win something with the club, the league or the Champions League, maybe both.
“We know each other very well and try to help each other.
“It’s great to see Virgil van Dijk win here, because it could have been emotional having been injured here,” said the striker.
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And finally, Mo was asked about coming seventh in the Ballon d’Or, after so many fans, players and experts had tipped him to win the accolade.
He modestly broke into laughter and replied: “No comment!”
This was yet another statement victory from Liverpool.
They destroyed their arch nemesis at a canter.
And Man United as well, depending on which you see is the bigger rival.
Their form and fitness has been mightily impressive.
Having won the Premier League and the Champions League in recent seasons, they are still looking just as hungry and motivated as ever.
If emulating the club’s triumphs of the 80’s, where they dominated the football landscape both at home and abroad is the target, then they are surely well on the way to achieving their goal.