Liverpool strolled over Everton in the Merseyside derby, increasing the pressure on former manager Rafael Benitez.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had only won once in their previous nine trips to Everton, but a quick start put them in command as Jordan Henderson scored after nine minutes and set up Mohamed Salah for a 10-minute winner.
Seven minutes before halftime, Demarai Gray raced onto Richarlison’s ball and beat Alisson.
After 64 minutes, Salah took advantage of Seamus Coleman’s blunder to gallop clear and score brilliantly.
With 11 minutes remaining, Diogo Jota added on the misery for Benitez and Everton when he grabbed Andrew Robertson’s ball in stride before eluding Allan to strike high past Pickford.
Frustrated Everton supporters unfurled a banner denouncing the club’s leadership on the Gwladys Street End in the first half and repeated their comments after the final whistle.
On hearing the news, there were cries of “sack the board”, with chairman Bill Kenwright and director of football Marcel Brands being singled out.
Benitez is in the midst of a storm, having won the Champions League and the FA Cup with Liverpool.
Everton’s fast fall has been aided by injuries to crucial defender Yerry Mina and England attacker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
A rampaging Liverpool flattened a panicked Everton early on before killing the game when Benitez’s team attempted to come back.
This was a very difficult night for Everton’s fans, and speculation regarding Benitez’s future will abound.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is prone to rash decisions, but successive management changes have had little impact. And now comes a critical home game against Arsenal on Monday.
- Salah, Thiago on Target as Liverpool Moves into the Knockout Stages
- Liverpool Cruises Past Atletico Madrid, as Klopp’s Team Equals Paisley’s Undefeated Record
- Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Liverpool Defeat: My ‘darkest day’ as manager
Despite a few nervous minutes following Gray’s goal, Liverpool never looked like losing the game.
They established a new record by scoring two or more goals in 18 consecutive games, and they might have scored more except for Everton goalie Jordan Pickford.
Everton was on the back foot from the opening minute and lucky to survive until the ninth minute when Henderson put Klopp’s team ahead.
He scored beautifully from Henderson’s ball and then took advantage of Coleman’s nervousness caused by his presence to roll in his second.
Liverpool has already scored 43 league goals this season, more than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues.
After squandering early opportunities, Liverpool slowed down when they were 3-1 ahead and might have easily scored more.
Everton just couldn’t deal with Liverpool’s dominating, menacing performance, confirming their status as championship contenders this season.
Chelsea and Manchester City both won away at Watford and Aston Villa, making this a three-horse race.
Liverpool is two points behind Chelsea in third place but will be confident of closing the gap following another superb performance.