Liverpool overwhelmed Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 at a fervent Anfield on Sunday to take over at the top of the Premier League table with six games of the season remaining.
Spurs never recovered from an early Younes Kaboul own goal, with further strikes from Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson securing an eighth successive victory for Brendan Rodgers’s in-form side.
The win took Liverpool two points above previous leader Chelsea, beaten 1-0 by Crystal Palace on Saturday, and left the 18-time champion on course for a first English league title since 1990.
Third-place Manchester City, four points below Liverpool, has two games in hand, but both it and Chelsea must visit Anfield before the season ends.
Tottenham had been thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool in December’s reverse fixture, precipitating the departure of coach Andre Villas-Boas, and Sunday’s defeat left Tim Sherwood’s side eight points below the top four in sixth place.
Liverpool has made a habit of scoring early in recent weeks and it took it under two minutes to take the lead against Spurs, with Kaboul inadvertently knocking Glen Johnson’s low cross into his own net.
Spurs’ cause was not helped by an injury to centre-back Jan Vertonghen and his replacement, Michael Dawson, was to play an unfortunate role in Liverpool’s second goal in the 25th minute.
His volleyed pass towards Kaboul allowed Suarez to pounce and the Uruguayan ran away from the Spurs centre-backs before driving a left-foot shot across visiting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The goal was Suarez’s 29th in the league this season, eclipsing the Premier League club record of 28 set by Robbie Fowler in 1996.
Roberto Soldado threatened to give Spurs a foothold in the game with a curling shot that drew a flying save from Simon Mignolet, but Liverpool ended the first half on top, with Lloris brilliantly touching a header from Suarez onto the post.
Coutinho killed the game off 10 minutes into the second period, drilling a low shot into the bottom-left corner from 22 yards.
Henderson added a fourth in the 75th minute with a free-kick from wide on the left that eluded everyone on its way into the net.
The results: Liverpool 4 (Kaboul 2-og, Suarez 25, Coutinho 55, Henderson 75) bt Tottenham Hotspur 0; Fulham 1 (Dejagah 71) lost to Everton 3 (Stockdale 50-og, Mirallas 79, Naismith 87).