Liverpool swept Manchester City aside with a three-goal blitz in 19 first-half minutes to take a commanding 3-0 first leg lead in their Champions League quarterfinal.
Champions-elect City lead Liverpool by 18 points in the Premier League, but their only league defeat this season came in a 4-3 thriller at Anfield in January, and they suffered an even worse fate on Wednesday to leave their hopes of winning the European Cup for a first time hanging by a thread.
Just as in the January meeting between the sides, the prolific Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane were on target for the hosts.
However, a perfect night for Liverpool was marred when Salah limped off with an injury early in the second half.
City could already be crowned English champions by the time the sides meet again for the second leg in six days’ time should they beat local rivals Manchester United on Saturday.
However, it will take an extraordinary Etihad turnaround if they are to make just their second ever Champions League semifinal.
City were well aware of the cauldron they were facing from the off as their team bus was battered by bottles and cans on their arrival at Anfield.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was quick to apologise as were the club in a strongly-worded statement condemning the actions of their own supporters.
The atmosphere was equally electric inside the stadium for Liverpool’s first Champions League quarterfinal for nine years.
However, it didn’t immediately appear to shake City out of their rhythm as the hosts controlled possession for the opening 10 minutes.
City, though, remained susceptible to the speed of Liverpool’s forwards and the visitors were caught out on the counter-attack on 12 minutes when Salah sprang Roberto Firmino in behind the City defence and, after his initial effort was parried by Ederson, Firmino teed up Salah to smash home his 38th goal of the season.