Liverpool marked their first game since Luis Suarez’s suspension with a resounding 6-0 win against Newcastle on Saturday.
Daniel Agger gave the Reds a third-minute lead after heading home Jose Enrique’s looping cross before former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson tapped home for a second on the quarter-of-an-hour mark.
The instrumental Daniel Sturridge then struck twice after the break, while Fabio Borini and Henderson completed the scoring as the visitors ended a streak of three successive draws, while also extending Newcastle’s miserable run to just one win in eight Premier League games.
The Magpies went into proceedings without first-choice stopper Tim Krul, club captain Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Sylvain Marveaux but manager Alan Pardew was able to name Hatem Ben Arfa – a recent injury returnee – on the bench.
The visitors, meanwhile, made just one change from their 0-0 draw at Reading as Sturridge came in for the suspended Suarez.
But that solitary changed looked to be all Brendan Rodgers’s side needed as Liverpool commanded the early stages and were rewarded for their dominance just three minutes in.
Enrique sent a looping cross into the danger area, where Agger stood unmarked and in yards of space. The Denmark defender got his head to the ball and calmly slotted past a hapless Rob Elliot.
That was the Reds’ 75th Premier League goal against Newcastle – the most that they have scored against any other side in the top division. The 76th would shortly follow.
A long ball from Pepe Reina was touched to Phillipe Coutinho by Sturridge, who then combined with the 23-year-old to perfection as some sublime build-up play allowed Henderson to break free in the penalty area and tap the ball into an empty net.
A one-sided affair was signalling all kinds of worry for the home side and their task was not made any easier when James Perch wasted their biggest chance of the half minutes before the break. The 27-year-old met a pinpoint cross inside the box but sent his header disastrously wide of Reina’s goal.
Pardew’s response was to send Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran out for the second half and their presence immediately gave the hosts a notable injection of energy.
But Elliott was soon picking the ball out of his net yet again as Coutinho starred once more with a sensational through-ball to Sturridge, who gratefully tucked his finish home.
And on the hour mark, matters got even worse for the home side as Henderson won the ball of Cheikh Tiote and squared to Sturridge, who was in the right place at the right time once again for his second of the game.
Substitute Borini then rubbed salt into Newcastle’s wounds as he tucked away Stewart Downing’s cross with a fine finish, before Mathieu Debuchy was sent off shortly afterwards for a second bookable offence.
Minutes later, Henderson swooped in with his second to make it six, completing a very bleak result indeed for Pardew and his men.