Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he told his side to make sure Sunderland were swept aside so they could take advantage of the opportunity handed to them by their Premier League rivals.
By winning 3-1 at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon, Liverpool were able to reclaim second position in the table, and now trail leaders Arsenal by just two points.
On a Saturday, a 1-1 draw between Tottenham and Chelsea, as well as defeats for both Manchester United and Manchester City, meant the Reds went into their clash against the Black Cats with the perfect motivation.
Rodgers told the club's official website: “We stressed that before – that was an incentive going into the game.
“You have to look to dominate those situations if any of your rivals slip up. It’s the mark of a good team when you can go and put in a good performance and win."
The return of Luis Suarez to Premier League action inspired the Reds to victory, with the Uruguayan scoring a brace and Daniel Sturridge also getting on the scoresheet to continue his impressive form.
The partnership between the pair was particularly pleasing to Rodgers, who feels they share a real understanding.
He said: “It’s the mark of two top players. They were both looking for each other in the box when the other one couldn’t score.
“They looked a real threat and I think they’ll continue to look that throughout the season.”
Suarez will make his Anfield return on Saturday when Liverpool host Crystal Palace in the Premier League.