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The Pressure Shift: Free-scoring Liverpool gunning to be best of the rest

12:30 GMT 27/12/2017
Coutinho, Andy Robertson, Liverpool
Only PSG and runaway Premier League-leaders Manchester City have outscored Jurgen Klopp's insatiable Reds in Europe's top five leagues

Manchester City have set such a staggering pace in the first half of the season that the Premier League title race looked all but over before the Turkey had even been carved, but the battle for UEFA Champions League places still has some way to go.

The aim for the rest of the Big Six is now to cement a top-four finish and prove themselves the best of the rest.

And on Boxing Day Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool underlined their ambition to do exactly that with yet another emphatic PL victory, this time a 5-0 hammering of struggling Swansea City that leaves only PSG (89) and Man City (77) having scored more goals in the big five European leagues this season (in all competitions) than the Reds (75).

It was the fourth time this season that Liverpool have scored 5+ goals in a match in all competitions: a total matched only by Pep Guardiola’s champions-elect.

Moreover, they are now unbeaten in their last 11 PL outings and have tasted defat just twice this season – fewer than every other member of the Big Six aside from City.

The victory took them to fourth, one point clear of fifth-placed Spurs and four clear of sixth-placed Arsenal (who play Palace on Thursday), and moved them to within five of second-placed Man Utd.

The narrative for Liverpool this season was supposed to be one of defensive frailties, with suggestions their leaking backline would ultimately cost them.

That was certainly the case against Arsenal last week, when they let a two-goal lead slip at the Emirates and had to settle for a point. Indeed, nobody in the Big Six has conceded more than Liverpool (23).

But with 46 goals already this season, a total bettered only by City (60), Liverpool's blend of dynamic, attacking football continues to paper over any cracks further back.

And Tuesday’s win over Swansea was secured without even a goal from their top scorer, Mo Salah, with the Egypt international instead turning provider to lay on two goals for his team-mates.

Salah has been directly involved in 20 goals in his 20 Premier League games this season (15 goals, 5 assists), more than any other player.

Philippe Coutinho, meanwhile, has been directly involved in 10 goals (5 goals, 5 assists) in his last seven starts, while Roberto Firmino has now had a hand in more goals in all comps for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp than any other player (39 goals, 25 assists).

Coutinho and Firmino were the top two performers in the Goal Pressure Index, presented by Sure, across the Boxing Day fixtures.

The Anfield side have struck seven goals in the first two of their four matches over the festive period and, with a home tie against Leicester before a trip to Burnley, appear set to begin the new year with a quite a bang that will reverberate around the Premier League and pile more pressure on those around them.

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The Goal Pressure Index is presented by Sure, Official Partner of Chelsea FC, Everton FC and Southampton FC. Join the conversation on Twitter @Sure.