Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane both scored twice as Leeds were hit for six by Liverpool in a dominating display at Anfield.
Salah scored two penalties in the first half and inbetween set up Josip Matip perfectly for a goal after the centre back’s buccaneering run forward.
In truth it could have been six in the first half with Luis Diaz particularly unlucky when a shot bound for the top corner was blocked by Sadio Mane.
The Senegal striker scored himself with ten minutes remaining casually stroking home Jordan Henderson’s measured square ball.
Mane added to the scoreline in the 90th minute after Illan Meslier had initially denied Divock Origi well and there was even time for Virgil van Dijk to head home a corner to complete an emphatic rout, which did not flatter them in the slightest.
The win leaves Liverpool three points behind Manchester City, but with a superior goal difference and the teams to play again at the Etihad Stadium in April.
Liverpool have a new ‘Crazy Horse’ – As if they need another attacking option, Liverpool have one in their marauding centre half Joel Matip. With Virgil van Dijk almost able to stop most opposition attacks single-handedly, it’s good for his centre back partner to have another string to his bow. Legendary 1970s captain Emlyn Hughes, nicknamed Crazy Horse, was renowned for his ability to make charging runs from a deep position causing havoc in the opposition defence. With defences rightly paranoid about leaving space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane and whoever is the third man in the attack, as well as the full backs, there is certainly an opportunity for a player from deep to bolt through from deep. It is hard to think of a centre back who can do this better than Matip around at the moment.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mohammed Salah (Liverpool) – His goals came from the penalty spot, but his finishing was probably the weakest part of his game tonight. He really has become a fantastic playmaker from the left flank and this is what may teeter the Ballon d’Or in his favour over Kylian Mbappe at the end of the year. While Thiago Alcantara produces the beautiful passes from a little deeper, it is Salah from 30 yards out who, using fully the plethora of options, decides where the attacking opportunity will then come from. The key creative element in both Matip and Mane’s goals were his slide-rule passes.
Liverpool: Alisson 6; Alexander-Arnold 7, Matip 8, Van Dijk 8, Robertson 7; Thiago 8, Fabinho 6, Jones 7; Salah 9*, Mane 8, Diaz 7.
Subs: Henderson 7, Milner 7, Origi 6.
Leeds: Meslier 6; Dallas 6, Ayling 5, Struijk 6, Firpo 6; Forshaw 5; Raphinha 5, Klich 5, Rodrigo 5, Harrison 5; James 5.
Subs: Roberts 6, Shackleton 5, Gelhardt 6.
14′ PENALTY! It looked a bit harsh. Robertson fired a cross in from the left which hit Dallas but his arm was away from his body and the referee points to the spot.
15′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Salah sends the keeper the wrong way, slotting the ball just inside the right hand post.
30′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Matip slots home with aplomb after Salah found him with a slide-rule pass in the penalty area.
34′ PENALTY FOR LIVERPOOL! Ayling brings down Mane in the box and the Reds have another spot kick.
35′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Meslier went the right way this time but Salah blasts the ball to his left to the inside side-netting.
80′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Sane gets his big chance at last and does not waste it. Salah plays the ball behind the defence for Henderson who squares immediately and Mane casually slots home.
90′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Milner plays in Origi who is denied by Meslier but Mane gleefully puts the ball into an empty net.
90+3′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Van Dijk heads home Robertson’s corner to give Liverpool a sixth.