Luis Suarez scores hat trick for Liverpool
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez steamed ahead in the race for the golden boot with a hat trick Saturday as woeful Wigan was dispatched 4-0 at the DW Stadium.
With 10 matches to go, it seems inconceivable he will not surpass those efforts as it looks like a straight race between him and Manchester United's Robin Van Persie (19), whom he now leads by two in the battle to become the top-flight's leading scorer.
Stewart Downing's free header to open the scoring in only the second minute set the tone but his effort, created by his clever movement and good delivery by January signing Philippe Coutinho, was almost forgotten as Suarez again took center stage.
Coutinho provided the assist for the 18th-minute second goal, from Gerrard's initial pass, with a perfectly weighted ball into path of Suarez whose control was instant and finish clinical.
Suarez doubled his tally with a mixture of brilliance and good fortune. Gary Caldwell clattered the Uruguayan who, after scoring two brilliant free kicks against Zenit St Petersburg in his last appearance, stepped up again. He slipped as he connected with the ball but his shot had enough power and curl on it to clip Shaun Maloney on the edge of the wall and beat Ali Al Habsi with the help of the post.
Later, Glen Johnson set off on what is increasingly under Rodgers' tutelage becoming a trademark surge forward which allowed him to advance more than 40 yards before picking the opportune moment to slide in Suarez.
From the position the striker was in on the right of the area a goal would not normally be a foregone conclusion but the form he is currently in meant there was only going to be one winner between him and Al Habsi as the Oman international lost again.
Suarez has scored 15 in as many matches in all competitions, which has enhanced his bid to also be crowned player of the year for which he faces stiff competition from van Persie and Tottenham's Gareth Bale.
Also Saturday, Marouane Fellaini inspired Everton to a 3-1 win over Reading at Goodison Park.
Steven Pienaar doubled the Toffees' advantage in the second half when he was played in by Fellaini and fired home from 20 yards just before the hour mark before Kevin Mirallas added the third. Hal Robson-Kanu pulled one back for Reading but it was scant consolation.
Elsewhere, Fulham drew 2-2 with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light after the home side fought back from a two-goal deficit.
Sunderland hit back two minutes later, though, with Gardner atoning for his earlier mistake when he scored from the spot at the other end of the pitch after Danny Graham was pulled back by Philippe Senderos . Stephane Sessegnon then leveled the score when he pounced on Adam Johnson's deflected cross in the 70th minute.
QPR claimed a much-needed 2-1 win over Southampton at St. Mary's on manager Harry Redknapp's birthday but it was not enough to lift his team from the foot of the table.
Loic Remy gave QPR the advantage when Junior Hoilett played a ball over the top and found the Frenchman, who lifted the ball over goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
Gaston Ramirez leveled the score up at 1-1 with a close-range shot on the stroke of halftime but Jay Bothroyd put QPR back in front after the break, moments after goalkeeper Julio Cesar limped off at the other end.
Swansea claimed a 1-0 win over Newcastle in the Swans' first match since their historic Capital One Cup win over Bradford last weekend.
West Ham also triumphed 1-0 against Stoke thanks to substitute Jack Collison.
American midfielder Brek Shea came on as a substitute for Stoke.
Information from Press Association was used in this report.