Reds are now title favourites
Liverpool rise to the top as mastermind Klopp turns team into title favourites
(Sadio Mane 27, 60, Philippe Coutinho 30, Emre Can 43, Roberto Firmino 57, Georginio Wijnaldum 90)
(Daryl Janmaat 75)
No longer can Liverpool be considered dark horses in the battle for the English Premier League title.
The Reds have taken on the best and the worst that English football's top tier has to offer in the opening three months of the season and are now sitting handily at the summit.
Champions, contenders and great pretenders have all been swept aside.
There have been numerous near-misses over the past 26 years, but after the masterclass at Anfield yesterday in the 6-1 battering of Watford, the title is now officially theirs to lose.
Whenever Liverpool's closest competitors have faltered, as Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham all did this weekend, they had previously failed to rise to the occasion.
They were heavily reliant on the exploits of stand-out performers such as Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres whenever glory previously beckoned, and ultimately eluded them.
But it is not likely to be another hard-luck tale of 2008/09, nor the fable of 2013/14, this time around.
The potential for a repeat of those watershed moments are diminishing with every emphatic and comfortable performance that ensues.
Something, or rather someone, appears to have finally clicked at Anfield.
Juergen Klopp has fashioned a team which are no longer greater than the sum of its parts.
An attacking quartet of Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana boast obvious merits but, as a collective, they are unstoppable.
ANFIELD JOY: Roberto Firmino (right) and Sadio Mane again helping to fire Liverpool to another emphatic win. PHOTO: AFP
It took them less than half an hour to dent Watford's impressive record of failing to concede in the 298 minutes prior to travelling to Merseyside for last night's match.
Before the hour mark had even passed, that statistic had been obliterated.
What was once considered to be "poetry in motion" by the Kop watching the brilliance of Suarez, Torres and others in previous title challenges ended in despair.
This is unquestionably the genuine article. Anfield now expects goals in the same way it used to anticipate success.
With five in less than an hour yesterday, it is easy to see why Liverpool have become this season's greatest entertainers and deserved leaders heading into the forthcoming international break.
Klopp's psychology has been key. Changing the mindset of a club that have spent over a quarter of a century paralysed by their past has been a lengthy yet calculated process for the German during his 12 months at the helm.
Every instantly quotable sound bite has carried a message which now resonates.
Barely a month into his tenure, he was lambasting supporters for abandoning his side when games were on a knife-edge following a home defeat by Crystal Palace.
No one among the 53,000-strong crowd was making the traditional early exit in efforts to beat the traffic, even when Liverpool were comfortably coasting to the top of the Premiership.
Even a late conciliatory strike from Daryl Janmaat failed to avert their gaze at their team's brand of football that has become as enchanting as it has been energetic.
Watford had appeared all but resigned to their fate as they trudged off at the half-time interval.
Far lesser sides have been guilty of bearing similar thoughts since Liverpool last tasted defeat on home soil, over 19 games ago, in late January.
They will face sterner tests than this in the weeks and months ahead, not least a December 31 meeting with Manchester City, but Klopp appears to have struck a winning formula.