Liverpool showcased their outstanding quality as the champions-elect dominated Sheffield United to move one year unbeaten in the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp’s men haven’t tasted defeat in the league since losing at Manchester City in the opening game of 2019.
And they never looked like suffering a shock against Chris Wilder’s Blades, who have been the surprise package in the division so far this term.
Mohamed Salah fired Liverpool into a fourth minute lead, turning home clinically Andy Robertson’s cross.
And Sadio Mane secured the result, turning home on the rebound after Dean Henderson had initially denied the Senegalese forward following Salah’s clever through pass.
After the game, Reds skipper Jordan Henderson, praised the professionalism of the side, after a 19th win in 20 matches.
“The performance level has been really high for a long period of time, and we just want to keep doing what we have been and keep improving,” he told BT Sport.
“I still think we can improve, but overall the boys did excellent, the intensity was very good considering how many games we have had.
“We have coped really well and need to recover for the derby on Sunday (against Everton in the FA Cup) now.”
And while the professionalism of the European champions, as they search for a first league title in 30 years, should indeed be applauded, it is perhaps their development and the latest record to fall at their feet which should be hailed most.
When Klopp stepped into Anfield in 2015, we knew what would follow.
After all, his Borussia Dortmund side had wowed Europe with their “heavy-metal football” during his stewardship, which brought two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League Final.
Indeed, that was how things began under the German on Merseyside.
But on the night when the Reds went 12 months unbeaten and 13 points clear of second place, they showed just how much they have developed with another Premier League record.
Klopp’s men dominated possession, managing 74.8 percent during the 90 minutes, and their total of 970 passes – according to the Premier League – is the highest number by any team in a Premier League match.
They completed 874 of those passes – their most in a Premier League game since Opta began recording stats in 2003. Only Manchester City (three times) have ever completed more.
It is just the latest sign of how Klopp, his staff and this team, have refined the tactical approach.
They remain frightening on the counter-attack and in transition – witness the 12 second break from end-to-end for the second goal.
But they are now capable of completely controlling matches, in a way that, really, the Premier League has only ever really seen from Pep Guardiola’s City.
“I did not see a game against Sheffield United where the opponent controlled the game as we did tonight,” Klopp said.
“That was our plan, to make their life as complicated as possible, that is what we did. We scored some exceptional goals and controlled it.
“How we defended their wings with three players overlapping was really good and cut off a big quality of them, because of that, the game was in complete control, and that is what we wanted.”
As Rio Ferdinand puts it: “This is the feel of a team who are dominant. Totally dominant.
“They have the composure now. They have the mentality. They aren’t getting carried away with anything. It’s business-like.
“They’re almost knocking the stuffing out of teams, demoralising teams, before they even get on the pitch.
“They’re just absolutely strangling the life out of teams and punishing them at critical moments in games.”
They have set a new standard where consistency is concerned, taking a scarcely believable 82 points from a possible 84 in their last 28 league games.
Their development under Klopp continues, and increasingly the title looks a formality. Their first match of 2020 was another sign of their quite