Liverpool embarrass Aston Villa with six-goal hammering
Liverpool ran riot at Aston Villa to inflict the hosts' heaviest-ever home Premier League defeat.
The Reds routed the rock-bottom side 6-0 to claim their first win in six games while Villa lurched towards the Sky Bet Championship.
Daniel Sturridge and James Milner made it 2-0 before the break but the floodgates opened in the second half.
Three goals in seven minutes from Emre Can, Divock Origi and Nathaniel Clyne embarrassed Villa before Kolo Toure made it 6-0.
Calamitous Villa offered nothing and are on course to be relegated having never conceded five or more goals at home in the Premier League.
The embarrassing hosts, eight points from safety, suffered their 16th and most damming league loss of the season and are almost certain to drop out of the Premier League for the first time.
There was little love for the hosts on Valentine's Day and their fans turned on them as thousands deserted the stadium with over half an hour left.
The first 15 minutes gave little hint of what was to come but after a forgettable opening the game burst into life when the returning Sturridge made his mark to accept a gift from Villa.
The hosts had looked composed, without threatening, but allowed Sturridge the freedom of the area to guide Philippe Coutinho's cross in from six yards.
The injury-hit striker, who was making just his fourth league start of the season, sent a timely reminder to England manager Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016.
Ten minutes later it was 2-0 when Milner's free-kick from the left, after Jores Okore felled Coutinho, had Mark Bunn flapping and dropped into the corner.
It was a fortuitous goal and the lead was out of keeping with a game which lacked intensity.
Jordan Henderson should have made it 3-0 but his volley was deflected wide by Okore before Bunn saved from Roberto Firmino.
The hosts wilted even further and an air of resignation surrounded Villa Park following the hosts' first-half no show - although worse was to come.
Bunn stopped Sturridge two minutes before the break when he turned the striker's effort away but Liverpool had already done the damage.
They had barely had to work for their comfortable lead and Simon Mignolet maintained it with a routine stop from Leandro Bacuna after the restart.
But the game was over after three goals inside seven minutes following more dreadful defending from Villa.
First, on 58 minutes, Can robbed Bacuna midway inside Villa's half, allowing Firmino to race away and he teed up Can to drill in from the edge of the box.
Then, five minutes later Origi was sent clear by Coutinho and he fired beyond Bunn with just his second touch after coming on 60 seconds before.
Worse was to follow as just 156 seconds later Clyne bundled in from four yards after Bunn failed to hold his initial shot.
Villa capitulated and Toure made 6-0 with 19 minutes remaining after the hosts granted him time to plant an unmarked header in from 10 yards.
Scott Sinclair hit the post for the hosts but, job done, Liverpool eased off to the relief of Villa who are destined for relegation.