After returning from their Club World Cup exploits in Qatar, the newly-crowned World Champions continued their domination of the Premier League by batting away second-placed Leicester City 4-0 to stretch their league lead to 13 points.
Jürgen Klopp made one change from the side that triumphed over Flamengo on Saturday, with Naby Keita returning to the starting XI to replace the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Liverpool started the better of the two sides and will have been disappointed to not be leading within the opening 60 seconds following attempts from both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mané.
As the game ticked on the home side grew into the match and beginning applying pressure on the league leaders. Despite this increase in Leciteser pressure however, Liverpool continued to look the most dangerous of the two sides as Mohamed Salah went close following a quick counter-attack.
A Leicester corner saw Liverpool breakaway in typical fashion with Naby Keïta sending the Egyptian through on goal. Salah rounded Kasper Schmeichel with ease and selfishly attempted to repeat his Salzburg wonder-goal from a tight angle despite having Mané in support. Unfortunately, the ball bobbled into the side netting and the game remained goalless.
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Following this chance, Liverpool’s attempts on goal dried up as the Leicester defence began to restrict the space in and around the penalty area for Klopp’s Reds.
With this being said, Klopp’s title challengers remained dangerous and they took the lead in the 31st minute through Roberto Firmino.
Leicester failed to clear the ball from a Liverpool corner as the Reds recycled possession to Alexander-Arnold on the edge of the area. The right-back lifted his head before floating in an in-swinging ball to the back post where the Brazilian rose highest to flick it past Schmeichel with a glancing header. 1-0 Liverpool.
The Reds could have and should have been 2-0 up minutes later as an error at the back for the Foxes saw Mané find the ball at his feet mere yards from goal. The Senegalese seemed to rush the shot however as he blasted the ball straight at the goalkeeper, either side of Schmeichel and he would have doubled Liverpool’s lead.
Following the goal, Klopp’s men went into cruise control, dominating both possession and the flow of the game as they limited Leicester to no opportunities on their goal for the remainder of the first half.
The start to the second phase of play saw Liverpool continue where they left off in the first half as the Reds dominated possession and penned Leicester in their own half thanks to their aggressive high press.
Again similarly to the first half, Leicester began to grow into the game as they applied some extended pressure of their own on the visitors who had taken their foot slightly off the gas.
With this being said, Liverpool remained relatively comfortable as Brendan Rodgers’ men were still yet to test Alisson as the game crept into its final quarter.
With his side under pressure, Klopp introduced both Divock Origi and James Milner, with the latter making an instant impact as he scored with his first touch from the penalty spot.
An Alexander-Arnold corner struck the arm of Caglar Soyuncu and a penalty was given by Michael Oliver. Milner, who had been on the pitch mere seconds, stepped up to the plate and slotted it calmly down the middle with his first touch as Schmeichel dived to his left. 2-0 Liverpool after 71 minutes.
The second goal only seemed to give Liverpool a further boost in energy as the rampant Reds had a third and then a fourth in the 74th and 78th minutes respectively.
Firmino picked up the ball on the edge of the area before feeding Alexander-Arnold down the right flank. The Brazilian charged towards the back post and controlled Trent’s low cross as he swiftly curled the ball into the top corner of the net to bag his second goal of the night and Liverpool’s 500th goal under Klopp. 3-0 Liverpool.
Following the third goal, the Reds continued their blistering attacking form as they netted yet again moments later through Alexander-Arnold.
The wing-back, who had been marvelous down the right flank all game, capped off his brilliant performance with a goal of his own. A rapid counter-attack saw Mane lay the ball off to Alexander-Arnold who leather the ball with his first touch into the bottom right corner of the net from the edge of the area. 4-0.
Having scored three in seven minutes, Liverpool finally took their foot off the pedal and sunk back into their half as they looked to see off the final few minutes of the game.