Sadio Mane and Divock Origi helped Liverpool brush aside fierce rivals Everton with a 5-2 win at Anfield.
Origi scored twice either side of strikes from Xherdan Shaqiri and Michael Keane, before Mane struck towards the end of the first half.
Richarlison’s first half injury-time strike gave Marco Silva’s men hope, but they failed to build upon any lifeline offered by a superior Liverpool, who wasted multiple chances towards the game’s end before Georginio Wijnaldum struck at the death.
And the win meant the Reds maintained their gap of eight points at the top of the league, as well as extending their stunning unbeaten league home run to 49 matches.
A blistering start by the hosts set the scene for a stunning night of Premier League action, on a night where they were missing Mohamed Salah, Alisson and Roberto Firmino among others.
Less than two minutes were on the clock when Mane headed an early chance from Andrew Robertson as Liverpool fired a warning shot.
It wasn’t heeded.
In the sixth minute, Jurgen Klopp’s men led. Mane’s pass dissected a five-man defence and picked out Origi, who rounded the onrushing Jordan Pickford and slotted home.
Less than ten minutes later, the hosts doubled their lead and again Mane was at the heart of the move.
With a brilliant, disguised reverse, the Senegal forward picked out the run of Shaqiri who nonchalantly rolled the ball beyond Pickford once more.
The heat of this derby had the additional spice of the hosts gunning for Premier League glory while the visitors were struggling to maintain their status in the top flight.
As a result, the first six shots of the match resulted in as many goals - the most ever scored in the opening half of a Premier League Merseyside derby.
Keane pulled a goal back midway through the half with a clever finish after a scuffed clearance from Alex Iwobi’s cross handed him a close range chance.
Ten minutes later, it was 3-1 with another piece of brilliant from Origi - who, it seems, only scores important goals for the Reds.
The Belgian striker, who proved the hero of the last home league derby, received a quarterback-esque ball over the top from Dejan Lovren, brought it down with his first touch and clinically dispatched it over Pickford with his next.
Everton, in a sign of pure desperation, took off Djibril Sidibe and replaced him with Brazilian playmaker Bernard in a bid to change things.
And they did. Just not immediately.
Richarlison almost picked out Dominic Calvert-Lewin with a brilliant cross-shot which required Lovren to toe the ball behind, and not long after, Liverpool had a fourth.
A whirlwind counter attack saw Mane fouled outside his own penalty area, but picked out Trent Alexander-Arnold who burst into space as the hosts broke with men over.
The Liverpool star striker made a lung-bursting run to collect a return pass from the England right-back and clinically dispatched a left-footed first-time strike past Pickford.
The visitors’ hopes were seemingly dead, but they pulled another goal back in stoppage time when Richarlison headed past Adrian from a delightful Bernard cross.
It left Silva’s men with some hope to cling on to, but Origi looked determined to bag a third and almost did just that when Robertson picked him out and his wonderful swivel-and-strike was blocked at the last moment.
Just after the hour mark, though, Richarlison might have truly hauled his side back into the game when he headed straight at Adrian under minimal pressure.
Mane, the man of the night, should have put the result beyond doubt on 80 minutes after bringing down a delightful diagonal pass, but slid wide of the post with the goal gaping.
He had another gilt-edged opportunity in the 85th minute when he rounded Pickford only to be denied by a combination of the England goalkeeper and Mason Holgate.
The hosts were almost made to pay immediately as Moise Kean threatened to reduce to deficit to one goal but contrived to slide the ball just past the post at the other end.
Inevitably, though, the game was put to bed when Wijnaldum picked up the ball some 12 yards out and hammered into the far corner.
Defeat for Everton leaves the Toffees in the relegation zone and means manager Silva faces further scrutiny after already being under intense pressure ahead of the match.
Yahoo is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.
Live Premier League this December. Only on Prime Video.
Featured from our writers:
Yahoo Sport UK presents Tailgate