Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah both scored twice as Liverpool steamrolled Crystal Palace with a 7-0 victory at Selhurst Park to go six points clear at the top of the Premier League.
The tone was set inside three minutes when Takumi Minamino scored his first Premier League goal, slotting home after some good work from Sadio Mane. The Senegal international (25) then doubled Liverpool's lead later in the half after Palace's best spell of the game, netting with a crisp finish.
Firmino (44) added a third just before half time after a lightning counter-attack, before Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson (52) curled a wonderful effort home seven minutes after the break. Firmino (68) then chipped home over Vicente Guaita for his second of the afternoon.
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By this point, Liverpool were 5-0 ahead but never one to miss out on a scoring party, Salah added his own double late on to seal an emphatic win for the visitors. He nodded home his first in the 81st minute before sending a stunning effort home three minutes later as he edged past Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the Premier League top scorer table.
It is the first time Liverpool have scored seven goals in an away top-flight match since March 1991 against Derby County (7-1) and have an unassailable lead at the top of the Premier League heading into Christmas. Palace remain in 12th after their three-game unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt halt.
How Liverpool dismantled Crystal Palace
Liverpool took the lead inside three minutes in a dominant display at Selhurst Park. Andy Robertson floated a lovely cross into the area, finding Mane, who turned easily past Cheikhou Kouyate. He then tapped the ball through for Minamino, who rode a challenge before sweeping home past Guaita.
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But it was Crystal Palace who saw the better chances for the next half an hour. Wilfried Zaha flashed a cross through the area but Jordan Ayew just missed it at the back post, with Joel Matip making a vital touch. Soon after, the two Crystal Palace forwards linked up again. Ayew drove down the right of the area but his pass back for an unmarked Zaha was just too far behind as a positive move broke down.
Crystal Palace: Guaita (5), Clyne (6), Kouyate (5), Cahill (6), Van Aanholt (6), Schlupp (7), Milivojevic (6), McArthur (6), Eze (6), Ayew (7), Zaha (7).
Subs used: Tomkins (5), Batshuayi (6), Riedewald (5).
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (7), Fabinho (7), Robertson (7), Keita (7), Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (7), Minamino (7), Firmino (8), Mane (8).
Subs used: Salah (8), Jones (7), Oxlade-Chamberalin (7).
Man of the match: Roberto Firmino.
Despite having few chances, Liverpool struck twice more before the break. The first saw Firmino pick up a loose ball at the top of the area before slotting through for Mane. He then turned beautifully before hitting a crisp, clean strike past Guaita.
- Crystal Palace made four changes. Joel Ward, Scott Dann and Andros Townsend were among the substitutes with Christian Benteke suspended. Nathaniel Clyne, came back into the XI, having being released by Liverpool in the summer, with Gary Cahill, Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew also starting.
- Liverpool made three changes. Rhys Williams, Curtis Jones and Mohamed Salah dropped to the bench, with Joel Matip back in the XI after missing out against Spurs, alongside Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino.
It was a devastating Liverpool break that sucker-punched Palace again soon after. The black shirts poured forward with Robertson driving down the left. He then squared the ball through for Firmino waiting inside the area and he was given plenty of time and space to hammer the ball into the back of the net.
It took just seven minutes for Liverpool to add their fourth after half-time. After a neat switch of play, Alexander-Arnold tapped the ball back into the path of Henderson, who sent a wonderful, curling effort into the back of the net from 20 yards out.
Liverpool continued to control the half and a fifth was likely to follow soon after, with Firmino adding his second of the afternoon in the 68th minute. Salah drove down the field before picking out his team-mate to the right. Firmino then drove deep into the area before chipping home past the oncoming Guaita at the near post.
Much like Mane and Firmino before him, Salah picked up an assist before finding the back of the net himself. Joel Matip won a corner in the area, sending it into the forward's path, who then sent his own unmarked header past Guiata to make it six.
Three minutes later and it was seven. Salah collected a lovely cross-field path from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, cutting past James McArthur before powering an effort into the top corner to send him to the top of the Premier League scorers chart and round off a sensational victory for Liverpool.
Man of the match - Roberto Firmino
There were a few contenders for man of the match for Liverpool, but Firmino caught the eye with his work rate and runs that truly helped his side dismantle Crystal Palace's defence.
For his assist, he showed good awareness to be in the right place to collect a loose ball, with his run during Liverpool's break for his opener a true demonstration of his quality. If that didn't tell you everything, Firmino's eventual finish surely did.
He oozed confidence as he went one-on-one with Guaita to add his second, chipping expertly over the goalkeeper. He now has three goals in his last two games and is hitting form at just the right time as the busy Christmas period arrives.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said: "We are humiliated by the result, there's no question of that. We take it very badly and most of us in the dressing room have not been on the end of a 7-0 defeat before so it's a new experience.
"Quite frankly, I can't think of anything positive to say at all. We just have to come over it, there's no point on dwelling on it any longer than we really have to, we have to learn some lessons from it and I'm sure we will.
"I don't know that there was any vast difference [between Tottenham last weekend and Liverpool on Saturday] in our attitude, desire, our wanting to do well. We were 3-0 down at half-time and came out in the second half trying hard to get that goal back to give us some hope, but they got it instead. As a result, you really do have a mountain to climb then and we couldn't climb it.
"There's no magic wand. The players have got to come to terms with it. We've got to go home and accept that this has happened to us. It's something we didn't want to happen and we are very devastated by the fact that it has happened.
"Then on Tuesday, we've got to find a way of learning a lesson from it and making certain that any of the things we have done today that have definitely got to be changed, get changed and also to learn a few lessons on how Liverpool play the game because we're more than capable of doing some of the things they do. I'm sure we'll be thinking about that."
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: "It was hard work as well (as ruthless finishing). We had a lot of calm in the moments. They had their moments, 100 per cent, but our finishing in the first half was really clinical.
"I'm not thinking the game is finished at half-time. We had to stay concentrated. That was the challenge. We controlled the game and scored wonderful goals.
"Everything is pleasing, everything is good about this game. Overcoming the difficult problems in the first half with [their] counter-attacks, fighting really hard to avoid a goal there and then on the other side, really top football, top finishing.
"The boys did really well, it was really difficult to play against us today, I would say. And then today they obviously all wore their finishing boots it looked like and when you have that it is really tricky. That's the reason for the result.
"That didn't happen for us before and unfortunately it will not happen a lot, but it's a funny season - we lost 7-2 and now we won 7-0, so at least we could cancel out a little bit the goal difference.
"It clicked today. The boys should be really proud."
Opta stats - Liverpool's devastating win
- Liverpool registered an away top-flight win by a margin of seven goals for the first time in their history, while it was their first seven-goal league victory since a 9-0 win over Crystal Palace in September 1989.
- Crystal Palace conceded seven goals in a home match for the first time in their entire history.
- This was Jurgen Klopp's 127th victory as Liverpool boss in the Premier League, overtaking Rafael Benitez (126) as the Reds boss with the most wins in Premier League history.
- Liverpool's Sadio Mané became only the fourth player in Premier League history to score in seven consecutive appearances against an opponent, after Robin van Persie (8 vs Stoke), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (7 vs West Ham) and Romelu Lukaku (7 vs West Ham).
Live Renault Super Sunday
Crystal Palace will travel to Aston Villa on Boxing Day in the Premier League; kick-off 3pm. Liverpool also have an unusual eight-day break before their next game against West Brom on December 27, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.