London: Liverpool and Manchester City's shootout for the Premier League title intensified on Saturday with comfortable wins over Southampton and Cardiff respectively.
Jurgen Klopp could afford the luxury of handing Xherdan Shaqiri his first Liverpool start for a 3-0 victory at Anfield and Wesley Hoedt turned the Swiss international's deflected shot in for the opener before Joel Matip and Mohamed Salah's first goal in four games sealed Liverpool's seventh straight win in all competitions.
City edged ahead of Chelsea, who travel to West Ham on Sunday, into second, two points behind the leaders, as they bounced back from a shock Champions League defeat to Lyon in midweek by thrashing Cardiff 5-0 in the Welsh capital.
Liverpool's new-found strength in depth was in evidence as Daniel Sturridge netted on his first start of the season against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, and those coming into the side made a big impact again as Klopp made three changes.
The hosts were handed a huge helping hand early on by Saints thanks to a comical own goal by Hoedt as he failed to sort his feet out as Shaqiri's deflected drive trickled across the area.
Matip was another to be making his first start of the campaign and powered home Trent Alexander-Arnold's corner before Salah won the foot race to force the ball over the line after a Shaqiri free-kick came back off the bar.
Liverpool's afternoon was soured, though, by a rib injury to Virgil van Dijk that forced the world's most expensive defender off early in the second period ahead of a demanding run of fixtures.
Klopp's men face Chelsea and City in their next two league games, with a Champions League trip to Napoli in between.