London, 2 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Liverpool overwhelmed Southampton 4-0 at Anfield on Saturday before their scheduled mid-season break as they stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League to a record 22 points.
It is the largest leading margin at the end of a day by any team in English top-flight history.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his second goal in as many games for the opener in the 47th minute before captain Jordan Henderson doubled the advantage with a controlled finish on the hour mark.
Mohamed Salah then added his name to the plaudits as the Egypt winger chipped in two goals to secure the Reds a 20th consecutive home win in the league – equalling Manchester City’s record from 2012.
“We’re not even close to being perfect,” said Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.
“We didn’t want a 22-point lead. We wanted 73 points at the end of today.”
Liverpool were supposed to have a two-week gap now in the Premier League’s new mid-season break.
They have to face Shrewsbury in an FA Cup replay on Tuesday but Klopp has said no first teamers will play.
In the late kick-off, new Manchester United signing Bruno Fernandes made his debut in a 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
At the bottom end of the table, Bournemouth claimed a 2-1 home victory over relegation rivals Aston Villa with 10 men to jump outside the three-team drop zone.
They were replaced by West Ham United after Brighton and Hove Albion came from behind to draw 3-3 away.
Second-from-bottom Watford also lost a 2-0 advantage to fall 3-2 against 10-man Everton with Theo Walcott scoring in the last minute for the visitors.
“This is certainly a lesson for us,” said Watford boss Nigel Pearson. “It hurts for sure but we will continue to work through it.”
Vincente Guaita’s own goal gave the Sheffield United a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace to see them overtake Manchester United in fifth.
Newcastle United and Norwich City were involved in a goalless draw.
Earlier, Chelsea defender Antonio Ruediger scored two second-half headers to earn a point in a 2-2 draw at Leicester City in a top-four clash.
Following an uneventful first half, Ruediger leapt high to head Chelsea in front from a 46th-minute Mason Mount corner.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea didn’t lead for long after Harvey Barnes scored his fourth goal in six games on 54 minutes to level before Ben Chilwell scooped up Youri Tielemans’ low cross 10 minutes later for a Leicester lead.
Ruediger’s head restored parity between the sides on 71 minutes when the German linked up with Mount again to see the ball loop over Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
The result means Leicester are two points behind second-placed Manchester City in third on 49 points. City go to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Fourth-placed Chelsea are now five points ahead of Sheffield United on 41 points.
Strikes from Philip Billing and defender Nathan Ake gave Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth a 2-0 lead against Aston Villa before half-time.
After Colombian midfielder Jefferson Lerma was sent off for a second bookable offence, Aston Villa’s new signing Mbwana Samatta grabbed his first goal for the club but the Villains couldn’t find an equalizer.
The win takes Bournemouth to 16th and two points clear of relegation, while West Ham United drop to the deep end.
David Moyes’ Hammers led 2-0 at the London Stadium with first-half goals from Issa Diop and Robert Snodgrass but Brighton were brought into the game through an Angelo Ogbonna own goal in the second half.
Snodgrass scored a second to restore his side’s two-goal cushion but after Pascal Gross netted for Brighton, there was controversy around Glenn Murray’s 79th-minute leveller.
It looked like Murray had handled the ball before he brought the sides level, but the video assistant referee (VAR) was called and it was given.
“You’re scared to celebrate goals these days,” said Murray on the VAR situation. “I knew deep down that I didn’t touch it but thankfully it stood.”