Philippe Coutinho was in scintillating form as Liverpool bolstered their hopes of a top four finish with a 3-1 victory over Everton following a feisty Anfield derby.
The Brazilian curled in his eighth goal of the season just 177 seconds after Matty Pennington had cancelled out Sadio Mane's solo opener to give the Reds the interval lead.
It capped a welcome return to form for Coutinho who then set up substitute Divock Origi to seal the league double over their neighbours on the hour.
Everton's main threat came from set pieces and their frustration at failing to triumph for a 13th straight derby threatened to boil over with Ashley Williams and Ross Barkley perhaps lucky to escape red cards.
The victory sees Jurgen Klopp's men move two points ahead of Manchester City into third spot, though the success was slightly soured by the loss of Mane to what looked like a nasty ankle injury.
The Reds have played at least two games more than the rest of their top four rivals, and the Citizens can edge ahead of them once again if they win at sixth-placed Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.
A tale of two playmakers. Philippe Coutinho has struggled for form since an injury earlier in the season - but this showing suggests he's back to his best at just the right time. The Brazilian helped his country qualify for the World Cup in midweek and jetted back to Merseyside at high priority to produce a match-winning contribution. In contrast, Ross Barkley failed to make the impact Everton would have hoped for. The starlet was ineffective for long spells and was lucky not to see red in the first half for an ugly challenge on Dejan Lovren.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool): Was involved in all of Liverpool's best moments. Scored the crucial second goal and looks to have found his mojo at a key moment in the season, particularly if Mane's injury leads to a significant period of absence.
Liverpool: Mignolet 7, Clyne 7, Lovren 8, Matip 8, Milner 7, Lucas 7, Can 8, Wijnaldum 7, Mane 8, Firmino 7, Coutinho 8. Subs: Origi 7, Alexander-Arnold 7, Klavan n/a.
Everton: Joel 6, Williams 5, Jagielka 6, Pennington 5, Holgate 6, Gueye 6, Davies 6, Baines 6, Barkley 5, Calvert-Lewin 6, Lukaku 5. Subs: Valencia 6, Barry 6, Mirallas n/a.
8' - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Everton. Mane picks it up and runs at the Everton defence, bursting beyond two challenges and firing a low shot into the corner from the left of the area.
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