Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were on target as Liverpool kicked off 2020 in dominant fashion with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Anfield.
The league leaders were aiming to make it 12 months unbeaten in the Premier League after a phenomenal start to the season in which they had won 18 of their 19 games so far.
Jurgen Klopp made one change from the side that beat Wolves on Sunday, bringing in Naby Keita back into the fold for Adam Lallana.
However, the Guinean picked up an injury in the warm-up and James Milner was drafted in just before kick-off.
But that late change didn’t seem to have any effect on the Reds as they raced into an early lead.
Virgil van Dijk’s long ball over the top should have been dealt with by George Baldock but he slipped at the crucial moment – and that allowed Andy Robertson to square to Salah, who tucked home inside four minutes of play.
It was the Egyptian’s 14th goal of the season and his first since grabbing a brace against Watford to get 2020 off to a perfect start.
The visitors almost hit back immediately when John Lundstram fired just wide on the volley, before David McGoldrick’s long range strike stung the hands of goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Dean Henderson was then forced into action to deny Salah a second, superbly tipping over the bar after an incredible pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The Blades did have the ball in the net only to see the offside correctly raised against Lundstram, who had finished in some style.
But that was as close as the visitors came in the first half as Liverpool dominated possession and threw bodies forward at will.
The only difference in the second half was the frequency in which Liverpool neared the Sheffield United goal as Roberto Firmino, in the style of Philippe Coutinho, curled just wide from 25 yards out.
Shortly after Salah struck the woodwork in bizarre fashion, the league leaders found the second goal to give them some breathing room.
Sadio Mane drilled the ball into the feet of Salah and after a slight delay, the Egyptian’s through pass was exquisite. After the Senegalese’s first attempt was saved, he tapped home the rebound to double the lead.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder sent on two strikers in Oli McBurnie and Billy Sharp but it made little impact as the home side threatened to add a third through Firmino and then Mane again, but Henderson was in fine form to limit the damage to just two goals.
Liverpool were rarely troubled after that as they sealed an 18th straight win at home in the Premier League to extend their lead to 13 points at the top.
They are now just 12 games away from matching Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten record in 2004. Maybe, just maybe, Klopp’s side are next in line to be crowned the “Invincibles”.