LONDON (Reuters) – Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah each netted twice in a scoring masterclass as the visitors thrashed Crystal Palace 7-0 to record their first away win in the Premier League since September and move a provisional six points clear at the top.
It marked the first time the Reds had won away in the top-flight by a margin of seven goals and was their biggest league victory since they hammered Palace 9-0 at Anfield in 1989 when they won the old top-flight First Division title.
The result put the defending champions on 31 points after 14 games ahead of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who host Leicester City on Sunday.
Japanese midfielder Takumi Minamino repaid Juergen Klopp’s decision to start him instead of Mohamed Salah by scoring after just over two minutes and Sadio Mane then made it two when he twisted and fired home form the edge of the box in the 35th.
Firmino added a third just before the break, flicking home to finish off a glorious Liverpool counter-attack that swept the length of the field, and Jordan Henderson added a fourth seven minutes into the second half as Palace fell apart.
Firmino got his second with a brilliant chipped effort in the 68th and Salah came on to net with a header before superbly curling a shot into the top corner five minutes from time.
Henderson praised his side’s efforts in front of goal but, despite the dominant display and the margin of victory, the midfielder said his side could still improve.
“I thought we were ruthless today and took our chances which is always important. We dominated the game for large periods but I still thought we were sloppy at times,” he told BT Sport.
“Overall, the performance level, we have to be happy. Now we have a week leading to the next game. Then another tough test again,” he added ahead of the visit of West Bromwich Albion.
Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris