Liverpool’s ruthless win comes after Klopp’s side drown out distractions

Liverpool ensured they remain top of the Premier League on Christmas Day for the third year running with their most ruthless performance of the season as they beat Crystal Palace 7-0 at Selhurst Park — their biggest-ever away win in the top flight.

In so many ways, being top of the holiday table this year is an even bigger feat than the previous two seasons. Jurgen Klopp’s side have kept their heads in a season in which so much has been thrown at them. Their outstanding win at Selhurst Park against an ever-improving Crystal Palace side was tied up by half-time thanks to three wonderfully worked goals, and in the second half they were just magnificent. The goals were fit for a season-long highlights reel.

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Mohamed Salah watched on from the stands as his teammates tore into Palace. He too has added to off-field distractions this week, but finished with two goals an assist. Klopp has also had Jose Mourinho chipping away, the attention of more individual awards heading to Anfield, and then there was the backdrop of Liverpool’s poor away record — just one win in seven prior to Saturday’s match. But how distant those distractions are now.

Each of Liverpool’s seven goals were supremely crafted in their own right, and each a reminder to the rest of the league of why the champions are setting the pace again. But don’t expect Klopp to get carried away. “The season is not finished, unfortunately,” he said postmatch, before adding: “I don’t feel satisfaction, I’m happy in the moment. I’m not yet over the moon.”

Watching Liverpool on this chilly, December afternoon was a rare reminder of footballing normality in this hectic, tough year. They were utterly ruthless and played beautifully, just like they did last season as they stormed to the league title. The game was over by half-time on a day when everything went right for the champions.

Takumi Minamino scored his first Premier League goal after a couple of minutes, while Sadio Mane‘s sweet turn and half-volley brought up their second, ending a nine-game drought for the Senegal international. Roberto Firmino started and finished a beautiful, sweeping counterattack for their third before the break. Jordan Henderson scored their fourth, curling home from the edge of the box while Salah teed up Firmino for a neat fifth. Salah’s instinctive goal off a Joel Matip header brought up the sixth and then he scored a beautiful second and Liverpool’s seventh. Liverpool were on another level to Palace.

“Everything was good — top football, top finishing, keeping the ball in the right way — using the positioning, filling each plan with life,” Klopp said. “The boys did really well. Today they all wore their finishing boots.”

This performance was a masterclass in focus. Just 62 hours separated…

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