Liverpool get League Cup final revenge by thrashing Manchester City
Liverpool have often disappointed their home fans this season. Coming so soon after Sunday's Capital One Cup final heartbreak, the 3-0 win over Manchester City was just what the doctor ordered.
The visitors have a pitiful record at Anfield, and once Adam Lallana opened the scoring that rarely looked like changing.
Putting a dent in City's title hopes may well be scant consolation for losing at Wembley, but if the Reds have found their best home form, it's come at just the right time -- with Mancunian opposition also due next week in the Europa League.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Simon Mignolet, 7 -- Called into question once again this week, he will have relished a rare night off with City leaving their shooting boots at home for once. The Belgian would claim, with some justification, that he has rarely been as well protected as this.
DF Jon Flanagan, 8 -- An outstanding display from a player still to be assured of his Anfield future. An understandable desire to kick Raheem Sterling caused one or two concerns in the first half, but he went on to be solidity personified. He was growing ever stronger as the game wore on, never allowing City an opportunity to get even the scent of a comeback.
DF Kolo Toure, 8 -- It's simply astounding how Toure can roll back the years. He played nearly two hours of tense and demanding football on Sunday but you would never have guessed, such was his authority on Wednesday. On the odd occasion his colleagues made mistakes, he was invariably there to cover even when City had three class strikers out on the pitch.
DF Dejan Lovren, 7 -- Came back into the side and rarely looked troubled. He saved one or two lapses in concentration for late in the game when Liverpool were already three goals to the good. It may well have been a bad day for Sergio Aguero and co, but the Reds' defenders should take a lot of credit for that.
DF Nathaniel Clyne, 7 -- As reliable as ever, despite a switch to left-back in order to accommodate Flanagan and keep out Alberto Moreno. Chances to go forward were rare but he did his main job so well it often escapes people's notice how good he's been this season.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Energy and leadership to the fore. Given that he looked out on his feet on Sunday, this was a breathtaking effort, albeit confining himself to the workmanlike rather than anything flashy.
MF Emre Can, 9 -- Colossal performance. The security and strength of the defence owed much to the German's relentless harrying and running. Possibly his best game in a red shirt.
MF James Milner, 8 -- Seemed determined to make his old team pay for Sunday's result. Took his goal coolly and came close to adding more in the second half. Left the pitch very late in the game for a much-deserved ovation.
FW Adam Lallana, 8 -- Began with the kind of patchy, irritating play most have come to expect but once he opened the scoring went on to perform like a man possessed. He could only seemingly be stopped by brute force, having already set up the third and killer goal with great poise. Another who may have produced his best display for Liverpool, even better than when they beat the same opposition 4-1 in Novembver.
FW Roberto Firmino, 8 -- Often lost his way on Sunday but the fans saw far more good than bad on Wednesday. Lots of neat touches, never allowing City's back four any respite or a chance to regain their composure, he took an admittedly easy chance with cool precision and set up Milner for the second.
FW Divock Origi, 7 -- Took on an arduous, thankless task with gusto. There was plenty of running and chasing. He sometimes shows little aptitude for forward play or finding dangerous positions, but on a night when others provided the spark, his contribution to a superb team work ethic did not go unnoticed or unrewarded.
FW Christian Benteke, 6 -- On for the tiring Origi, and with the game virtually won already, the big striker helped his side with one or two charges forward. His Liverpool career looks doomed but at least he helped his team clinch victory by working as hard as anyone.
MF Joe Allen, NR -- Replaced Firmino to provide fresh legs for the final push to victory. Nearly scored a fourth that would have brought the house down.
MF Jordon Ibe, NR -- Very late replacement to enable Milner to savour his ovation, there was little time to contribute anything.
Steven Kelly writes about Liverpool for ESPN FC and has a weekly Liverpool column for The Irish Examiner. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.