Philippe Coutinho was the star of the show as Liverpool secured an impressive 4-1 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The Brazilian playmaker has rediscovered his best form in recent games – but hit top gear in Manchester, setting up two goals and scoring himself in a scintillating first-half display.
Coutinho and his fellow countryman Roberto Firmino ran the City defence ragged, with Eliaquim Mangala’s own goal preceding superb goals from the Brazilian pair.
Sergio Aguero curled home a fine solo goal on 44 and Manuel Pellegrini rang the changes at half-time, bringing on Fabian Delph and Fernandinho on for Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas.
But Jurgen Klopp’s Reds scored a late fourth through Martin Skrtel’s piledriver to register another morale-boosting away win, having won 3-1 at Chelsea at the end of October.
The high-flying hosts started slowly, with Mangala and Martin Demichelis looking uneasy at the heart of City’s defence.
Liverpool’s ‘gegenpressing’ was in full flow from the first whistle, and the opening goal came on seven minutes, when Coutinho robbed the ball from Bacary Sagna and fed Firmino, whose cross into the box was clumsily bundled past Joe Hart by the error-prone Mangala.
The goal had the visitors oozing with confidence, and it was 2-0 on 23 minutes when a swift counter-attack saw Firmino find Coutinho with a sublime angled pass, allowing his team-mate to sidefooted a first-time finish past Hart.
It was all Liverpool and Hart parried a fierce strike from Coutinho just after the half-hour mark, only to be picking the ball out of the net again a minute later, when Emre Can’s clever backheel found Coutinho, who in turn dinked the ball to Firmino, who had a tap-in for his first goal in a Reds shirt.
It could have been worse for City as Hart saved a shot from Firmino, who also steered an angled drive inches wide of the upright.
But they were given a glimmer of hope just before the interval when Skrtel’s poor clearance was headed into the path of Aguero, who curled a glorious strike into the bottom corner.
Toure and Navas were hauled off at half-time, meaning Mangala stayed on the pitch, but he was devoid of confidence and Liverpool sliced through the backline again on the hour, when Firmino had just Hart to beat but saw his shot deflect off the keeper and over the crossbar.
Simon Mignolet was called into action minutes later after a James Milner mistake offered a chance to Aguero, whose strike was well saved by the Belgium goalkeeper.
The game quietened down as both managers made changes, with Kelechi Iheanacho replacing Aguero and Jordan Ibe coming on for the irrepressible Coutinho.
Firmino forced another save from Hart before making way for Christian Benteke, who also drew a fine stop from the England number one.
But the City keeper was beaten for a fourth time on 81, when Skrtel won an aerial duel for a corner then smashed a 16-yard strike into the back of the net to put the icing on the cake of a display that ensured Raheem Sterling’s first run-out against his former club was not an enjoyable affair.