THEY have always known how to party on Merseyside – but this is stretching the point even for them.
Because at this rate, Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield farewell is going to turn into the longest leaving bash in living memory.
All those Liverpool loyalists certainly weren’t joking when they said they’d make his final few months in town extra special. They certainly haven’t wasted any time in getting down to work. If it carries on like this, Klopp will need a bigger suitcase to fit all his medals in when he heads back home.
So much for those who reckoned his mid-season announcement of an end-of-season departure would derail the bid for glory. The way they have reacted to the news that stunned football suggests a quadruple isn’t such a fanciful dream after all.
Not if tonight’s demolition of Chelsea is anything to go by anyway. Although when your opponents are as witless as the Blues, admittedly it does help.
Yet for all Mauricio Pochettino’s men were woeful, Liverpool were wonderful. Whisper it quietly – please! – but Klopp could indeed go out as a title winner.
And so much, too, for everyone who thought losing Mo Salah’s firepower first to Africa Cup of Nations duty and then to the treatment table would leave them firing blanks. In five games without the Egyptian, they have rattled in 17 goals. And by rights they should have had a whole lot more as well.
Not, you understand, that there will be too much complaining as long as they continue scoring at least one more than those in front of them.
Tonight it was four, should have been at least double, could have been even more. They flew out of the traps, never broke stride and never looked like losing. Poise, class, energy, determination, persistence… the men in red had them all, the ones in blue had none.
The goals came from Diogo Jota, the magnificent Conor Bradley, summer signing Dominic Szoboszlai – thank Heavens they missed out on Moises Caicedo, eh – and Luis Diaz. But really there could have been half a dozen others in Liverpool shirts who ended up on the scoresheet.
Liverpool were red-hot, they were rampant and they simply ran riot from start to finish. The way Klopp is beaming his way through matches these days, they could use him to light up the city.
Mind you, no one did that quite as brightly as young right-back Bradley, making only his second Prem start. Well, however many games this kid – he only left his teens in the summer – plays by the time he does hang up his boots, he will rarely have an evening like this one.
By the time he finally took his bow 20 minutes from the end, everyone inside Anfield was on their feet and applauding. Rarely has a standing ovation been so richly deserved.
In a game when they were hardly short of heroes, Bradley outshone all the likely candidates. He was stunning. He was superb. He was unstoppable. It was Bradley’s toe which initially nicked the ball from a marauding Ben Chilwell for the first on 23 minutes, following up by drilling the ball to Jota just outside the box.
Jota’s left foot, right foot step bundled him between Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile and although he got lucky with the ricochet, the finish couldn’t have been more clinical.
Seven minutes before the break a night to remember became a never-to-be-forgotten one for the youngster from the Northern Irish town of Castlederg in County Tyrone. When Luis Diaz picked it up on halfway, Bradley hared off down the right. One touch earned space, the next was a perfect finish for his first Reds goal.
Sensational stuff. And more to come – this time in a laser-guided delivery from the right flank midway through the second half for Szoboszlai to thunder in a header.
Had Darwin Nunez not gone on a one-man mission to set a new record for striking the woodwork, Chelsea’s faces would have been redder than their opponents’ shirts come the end of it all.
A record FOUR times he rattled the bar or post, once from the penalty spot after Jota was sent tumbling by Badiashile’s clumsy foot. And he was superb, as well.
Maybe that’s why he eventually thought blow this for a game of soldiers, I’ll turn provider instead, and teed up Diaz for the fourth, 11 minutes from time. By then Chelsea had got the most irrelevant of lifelines when Christopher Nkunku dragged one just inside the far post.
They can rightly feel hard done to in that they should have had spot kicks when Virgil van Dijk escaped with fouls on Conor Gallagher and Nkunku.
Yet don’t for one minute think Chelsea were unfortunate. They were damn lucky not to get an even bigger hiding. Party time anyone?