Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side’s 5-0 demolition of Watford on Wednesday night showed how much they are thriving under the pressure of leading the English Premier League football championship race.
Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk both scored twice and Divock Origi grabbed the other as Liverpool stayed one point clear of Manchester City, who edged past West Ham 1-0.
Three draws in four Premier League matches had raised concerns over Liverpool’s ability to fend off Pep Guardiola’s charging City as they chase their first top-flight title since 1990.
“It was just . . . the boys showed how much they enjoy the game and the situation,” Klopp told the BBC.
“It was an important sign. You know what was written and said about us. It is of course not right. These boys are outstanding and today they showed so much passion.
“The game from Mo (Salah) was incredible. Sadio (Mane) scored a brilliant goal. All three midfielders were outstanding. Both centre-halves played outstanding.
“We won 5-0 so you don’t talk about them but they had their moments. Even (goalkeeper) Alisson was great. The boys who came on controlled the game. A lot to talk about.”
Klopp also singled out Trent Alexander-Arnold for praise after he provided three assists.
“It is just a really good night for us and the boys deserve all the credit,” he said.
City finally broke the resistance of West Ham at the Etihad Stadium in the second half to stay just one point behind Liverpool, while third-placed Tottenham slipped to a damaging 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.
Arsenal swatted aside a limp Bournemouth team 5-1 to remain in fourth place, one point clear of Manchester United, with Romelu Lukaku taking advantage of the absence of Marcus Rashford to score twice in a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace.
Liverpool came into their match after three draws in four league matches but Mane settled their nerves, heading home a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold before the pair teamed up again, with the Senegalese forward producing an audacious backheel strike