Liverpool celebrate during their victory over Leeds United. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool player ratings, heroes and villains: three players get 9 in emphatic 6-0 Leeds United victory

Liverpool delivered a statement to Manchester City in the Premier League title race as they swatted aside Leeds at Anfield.

Liverpool cranked up the pressure on Manchester City and moved within three points of the Premier League leaders by thrashing Leeds United 6-0 at Anfield.

The Reds were rampant against Marcelo Bielsa’s side, with doubles from Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, as well as goals from Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

It was certainly a statement from Jurgen Klopp’s men as they now breathe down the neck of City.

Liverpool put the game to bed by half-time.

The Reds were awarded a penalty when Andy Robertson’s cross struck the flailing arm of Stuart Dallas and Salah finished the spot-kick with aplomb in the 15th minute.

Then the home side on 32 minutes through the unlikely Matip. He went on one of his trademark marauds from defence and played a one-two with Salah before chipping beyond Leeds keeper Ilan Meslier.

Klopp’s troops wrapped up all three points by the 35th minute - with Salah notching his second.

Liverpool were awarded a second penalty when Luke Ayling was adjudged to have fouled Sadio Mane just inside the area.

It was Salah who again stepped up - and again, he gave Meslier no chance.

The Reds took their foot off the gas to a degree in the second period but before turning on the taps late on.

With 10 minutes remaining, substitute Jordan Henderson slid in Mane who found the top corner.

Then Mane doubled his tally and rounded off the emphatic win with a finish into an empty net after Divock Origi saw an effort saved.

And in stoppage-time, Virgil van Dijk headed home a sixth.

The heroes

- Mo Salah: two goals and an assist for Liverpool’s talisman. Salah never looked like missing either spot-kick while he vision to set up Matip was superb. So unlucky not to have had a hat-trick when his first-half stoppage-time effort was cleared off the line by Junior Firpo.

- Joel Matip: Anfield erupted when the centre-back netted. He has gone on plenty of forays from central defence in the past and finally it led to a goal. Solid defensively as well.

- Sadio Mane: his piercing run caused Ayling to clip his heels and win Liverpool’s second penalty. Ran amok as a makeshift centre-forward. Then got his just rewards with a goal late one.

The villains

- Raphinha: the Brazil international has been heavily linked with Liverpool in the past. But if this was a potential dress rehearsal then Raphinha failed to take his chance. Strayed offside when Leeds got into a dangerous position and he put the ball back in the net. Didn’t offer much else apart from that.

- Stuart Dallas: the versatile Northern Ireland international knew what he’d done wrong when Liverpool were awarded their first penalty. Dallas barely even appealed the decision.

- Marcelo Bielsa: pressure is certainly on the Leeds manager. He suffered yet another big defeat and relegation looms large for the Whites.

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