It was only two goals, and the second one was only scored with a few minutes to go, but the scoreline does little to illustrate just how dominant Liverpool were tonight, and fails completely at describing how they continued to crank up the dial throughout the second half, to the point that when Diogo Jota scored his second, it felt like mercy, because at least it made the Reds pull back on the throttle a little.
An escalatingly excellent performance from the Merseysiders, who are keeping pace with the league leaders as they look to make it two league titles from three season. Below, we look at some winners and losers on the night.
Double Diogo: With 30 goals in his first 60 games for the club, Diogo Jota joins a group of fairly illustrious footballers, as the eight previous players to hit that milestones within the same number of games were Mohamed Salah, Daniel Sturridge, Fernando Torres, Michael owen, Robbie Fowler, John Aldridge, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish. You’ll note they are all club legends or thereabouts.
He’s playing phenomenally well, the Portuguese, and has been the decisive contributor — scoring goals that directly lead to a result — in six games this season. The predatory instinct that saw him pop up in the right spot to tuck home the rebound following Virgil van Dijk’s first-half header has been a critical component for the Reds this season, and if they do end up collecting any trophies, it will be in no small part thanks to the £40m man.
Geuine Squad Depth: Mohamed Salah came on as a substitute today, and to be frank — although he went very very close to scoring a brace — he wasn’t really needed to get a result. New-boy Luis Díaz looked as though he had been a Red for months rather than days, and although he didn’t ultimately get the goal his performance deserved, he showed all the tenacity, intelligence and dynamism that is expected from a Liverpool attacker.
Sadio Mané is still sleeping off his AfCoN celebrations, and Jordan Henderson missed out with a slight back problem, but beyond that, Jürgen Klopp has a full squad to choose from, and what a squad it is!
As the season reaches its pointy end, the ability to mix and match starting elevens depending less on fitness and availability and more on form and preferential matchups is a massive luxury the German is enjoying for the first time at Anfield, and it is one that should have fans very excited, and opposition managers extremely worried.
Quadruple Quest: With three months to go in the season, the Reds are fighting on four fronts, with a cup final already booked, and are among the two or three favourites to win all of the other competitions they are partaking in.
Despite their obvious greatness, this iteration of Liverpool has only collected three major trophies, and in order to earn the historical significance their play over the past few years has merited, they will have to add to that tally. A quadruple would do the trick quite nicely, one presumes.
Brenny Rodge: It’s been a steep decline for the former Liverpool manager over the past year or so. Since barely missing out on top four as one of the five best teams in the league in 2019/20, Leicester were lucky to even be in the conversation last year, and they are currently — deservedly — mid-table.
The Foxes’ squad looks good enough, but they are leaking goals and chances at a dramatic clip compared to past seasons, and have not been able to make up for it at the other end of the pitch. Following James Maddison’s shot from a narrow angle in the sixth minute tonight, they barely got a sniff against the Reds, and the two-goal margin flattered them in the end.
Despite being a manager at the top level for well over a decade, the jury is still out on exactly how good Brendan Rodgers is at his job, but if he can’t turn it around at Leicester by the end of this year, it feels likely he’ll have to try and establish his level somewhere else.
What Happens Next
The season run-in is well and truly on, as the Reds will play nine games in 27 days, starting with a trip to bottom of the barrel-Burnley on Sunday, before a somewhat more prestigious trip to Milano next Wednesday, as their Champions League campaign restarts with a clash against league leaders and reigning Serie A champions Inter for the first time in nearly 15 years.