Title race? Liverpool confirm one-team procession with Leicester destruction

Inspired by the exceptional Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool squeezed any remaining life out of the title race by demolishing Leicester.

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring at Leicester   -  Getty Images

A pulsing light show, a pitch side fire show and the obligatory Kasabian soundtrack. The King Power Stadium was ready to party like it was 2015-16.

Brendan Rodgers' vibrant Leicester City side might have been knocked off its stride at Manchester City last weekend, but this felt like the ideal time to restate its elite credentials before an adoring and clapper-armed public.

Liverpool was just back from its successful but often torrid Club World Cup exertions in Qatar to play its closest challenger in the Premier League away from home.

READ | Liverpool thumps Leicester City to open up 13-point Premier League lead

Any notion this combination of circumstances represented a deck potentially stacked against Jurgen Klopp's formidable side lasted less than a minute, during which time the runaway leader almost scored twice.

Kasper Schmeichel, who did not enjoy his most distinguished outing, was unsettled by Trent Alexander-Arnold's rasping long-range drive before Jonny Evans uncharacteristically switched off from a Mohamed Salah cross and Sadio Mane bundled wide.

Leicester was rarely able to feel any more comfortable than it was during those discombobulating opening 60 seconds, save for a fleeting second-half rally ignited by Alisson slicing his clearance from an Andy Robertson backpass.

Seemingly affronted by this belated challenge in a game where it should already have been out of sight, Liverpool scored three times in the space of seven minutes to seal an emphatic 4-0 triumph. This was brutal, blistering efficiency from the best team on the planet right now.

Its record this season in the Premier League reads 17 wins and one draw. This is not a title race; it is a procession. The final five months of their 30-year wait for a 19th top-flight crown will be little more than an extended victory lap.

Liverpool has risen imperiously to the implausibly high bar set by Manchester City – the last team to beat it in the Premier League back on January 3.

Pep Guardiola's men amassed 198 points and five of the six major domestic trophies on offer over the past two seasons. City's wobbles this time around have been magnified by the Reds' near perfection and they travel to Wolves on Friday 14 points in arrears having played the same amount of games.

Leicester was unable to bring its considerable quality to bear in a contest where Jamie Vardy and James Maddison existed on the margins. They were beaten 3-1 by City, subjected to a Kevin De Bruyne masterclass, a reminder of Riyad Mahrez's magic and suggestions of Bernardo Silva rediscovering his mojo.

Here, it was swept beneath the red wave, with Alexander-Arnold particularly exceptional.

The cross for Club World Cup hero Roberto Firmino's opener was delicious and when the same players combined for Liverpool's third in the 74th minute it was a 20th assist since the start of last season for the England right-back.

Alexander-Arnold was not done there, completing the scoring with an unerring finish on the break after Mane scatted a bedraggled Leicester backline.

The all-important second goal arrived when Caglar Soyuncu needlessly handled in the area and substitute James Milner confidently converted from 12 yards. Soyuncu has arguably been the standout defender in the Premier League this season but flailed badly five days on from being subjected to De Bruyne's wrath.

It handily encapsulates the gulf between the champions, the leaders and the rest – a gap more likely to grow than shrink given the various grapples with transition the other members of the "big six" are undergoing.

The champion of Europe and the world will be the champion of England. If the wondrous Alexander-Arnold and his team-mates can maintain their levels, the only question is how many records they might smash by the end of the season.

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