Top-form Liverpool defeated helpless Leicester with two goals from Curtis Jones to extend their current winning streak and move the Foxes closer to Premier League relegation.
With one more game played than Newcastle and Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp’s team has won seven straight matches to strengthen their bid for a top-four finish.
With only two games left, Leicester, the 2016 Premier League champions, are two points away from safety in 19th place after another awful loss. The Reds scored twice in the first half, with Mohamed Salah twice finding Jones, who finished strongly to record his first Premier League hat trick.
Before halftime, the score should have been 3-0, but home goalkeeper Daniel Iversen produced an outstanding reaction save to stop Cody Gakpo from scoring.
By setting up Trent Alexander-Arnold to curl a beautiful finish into the top corner of the net with a free kick in the second half, Salah earned his third assist of the game.
Liverpool continues to pursue a top-four finish
If Liverpool is still hoping for a late Champions League spot, the two United teams above them must win two of their next three games to ensure a top-four finish, but Liverpool is close behind them and ready to take advantage of any mistakes.
The Reds had a sluggish start against Leicester, with Fabinho scorching over and Luis Diaz crashing into the side netting, but they began to pick up speed at the halfway point when midfielder Jones increased his goal total to three in his previous four outings.
His first goal came from Salah’s deep cross, and his second came from the Egyptian’s through pass, which he managed to hit the net with.
By passing the ball to Alexander-Arnold for his incredible second-half goal, Salah contributed to a hat-trick of assists. However, the Egyptian must wait for his 20th goal of the season following a spectacular miss late in the game, which he pushed wide when through on goal.
Liverpool knows that a win against demoted Southampton and a win over European-chasing Aston Villa at home on Saturday may complete a miraculous turnaround in an otherwise poor season.
The Foxes’ terrible season run continues
Leicester appears doomed and is a strong contender to join Southampton in the Championship the following year. The Foxes have lost at home for the club-record tenth time this season, with just one victory in their past 14 games, collecting a total of six points.
Their weaknesses are the defence, where manager Dean Smith made another change by starting Jonny Evans and appointing him captain, even though he hasn’t played a minute of Premier League football in the previous seven months.
But both of Jones’ goals were the fault of his unfortunate defensive partner Wout Faes, who scored two own goals in the same match in December. The Belgian was caught out of position on the first occasion, failing to clear the ball, and lost control of the ball on the second, racing out to block a pass unsuccessfully.
In the second half, Harvey Barnes’ strike tempted Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson into a superb leaping save, but the unfortunate home team never appeared as though they’d make a comeback.
The Foxes still have games remaining against Newcastle and West Ham at home as they try to escape being demoted just seven years after their incredible title victory.