This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Luis Suarez is the gift that keeps on giving.
Yet again Liverpool's smiling assassin walked away with his name reverberating around Anfield.
This was another majestic masterclass from the Uruguayan who celebrated his lucrative new contract in style. On current form there isn't a better player on the planet.
Suarez fired Liverpool to the top of the Premier League and they will stay there for Christmas if Arsenal fail to beat Chelsea tonight.
The stand-in skipper scored twice and unselfishly created the other for Raheem Sterling as Cardiff City were blown away before half-time.
A season which began with genuine hopes of a Champions League spot is reaching the halfway point with Kopites daring to dream of more. Eyes are starting to wander towards a much greater prize.
"I still believe the title is Manchester City's to lose," insisted Brendan Rodgers, keen to keep expectations in check.
"They have the strongest squad. The resources they have are incredible."
Of course the manager is right and after so many false dawns at Anfield over the past two decades Liverpool supporters know better than anyone the dangers of looking too far ahead.
The leap from seventh to achieving the Holy Grail of a 19th title is huge. Not since Leeds United in 1992 has a team won the championship having finished outside the top three the previous season.
But then again nobody has been able to call upon a player blessed with such breathtaking natural ability. With Suarez in this kind of form anything is possible.
The prolific frontman is making a habit of rewriting the record books.
His tally of 19 goals at this stage of a Premier League season is unprecedented - the fact he sat out the opening five matches due to suspension serves to magnify that achievement.
His goalscoring ratio this term is 1.58 per game - when Dixie Dean plundered 60 league goals for Everton in 1927-28 his ratio was 1.53.Since returning from his 10-game ban, he has graced Anfield on six occasions and has netted 14 goals. He's already in double figures for December.
Suarez is fiercely ambitious. He wants Champions League football and he wants to get his hands on silverware.
By signing that new deal he has sent out a clear message that he believes he can achieve those hopes and dreams at Anfield.
Last summer he felt he had outgrown his surroundings. Now he's convinced that Rodgers' Anfield revolution is gathering pace.
As striking as the quality of his goals on Saturday was the sight of him rushing to hand Daniel Agger the armband when the vice-captain came off the bench late on.
Suarez is Liverpool's outstanding individual but his commitment to the team ethos is total.
There's an appreciation of his team-mates and rightly so because this is a world away from the first half of last season when he was carrying the burden almost single-handedly.
Jordan Henderson proved on Saturday that his commanding performance in the thrashing of Tottenham was no one-off. Once again the England midfielder was outstanding. His athleticism and energy have long since been lauded but now he's proving there is so much more in his armoury.
Flourishing in an attacking central midfield role, he showcased his vision and range of passing. Confidence surged through his veins as Henderson drove the Reds forward.
It was an afternoon which also confirmed the re-emergence of Sterling as a player of genuine Premier League quality.
After the initial impact the youngster made early last term, his fortunes nosedived and he has spent the best part of 2013 in the wilderness - struggling with form, fitness and off the pitch troubles.
"Raheem needs to stabilise his life and understand the remarkable opportunity he has at one of the biggest clubs in the world," said Rodgers earlier this season.
The message appears to have got through - a third goal in the past four games was reward for another display full of verve and positivity from the pacey 19-year-old winger.
Liverpool head into a potentially season-defining week with momentum on their side.
The Boxing Day clash at Manchester City and the trip to Chelsea three days later will provide answers about what this crop are truly capable of achieving between now and May.
On the back of four resounding wins they go into that double header with a sense of belief rather than trepidation.
The goals are flowing with Rodgers' brand of attacking football tormenting top flight defenders.
After huffing and puffing for 25 minutes on Saturday everything clicked into gear. The rampant Reds scored three before the interval but could have had six or seven.
The deadlock was broken when Joe Allen found Henderson, whose pinpoint cross was expertly volleyed into the bottom corner by Suarez.
Cardiff so resolute and well organised early on simply couldn't live with the sudden increase in tempo and intensity.
Philippe Coutinho struck the post, Martin Skrtel nodded wastefully over and young Jon Flanagan's effort was cleared off the line.
David Marshall denied Sterling but the keeper was helpless three minutes before the break.
Henderson picked out Suarez's run with a classy pass with the outside of his boot.
The Uruguayan only had Marshall to beat but opted to square for Sterling to tap home.
On the brink of half-time Suarez brought a capacity crowd to their feet with another wonder strike for his growing collection.
Once again Henderson was the creator as his backheel was met 20 yards out with a curling right-footer which nestled in the far corner.
In the second half standards slipped and there was a wobble after Jordon Mutch punished some woeful marking from a set-piece to reduce the deficit.
Cardiff's gutsy display made a mockery of owner Vincent Tan's plans to drive Malky Mackay out of the club.
The vociferous visiting fans left the Malaysian businessman in no doubt about either their contempt for him or their backing for the manager. There was a show of solidarity from the home supporters who responded with applause.
Rodgers' side regained their composure and cruised to victory. Only the combination of Marshall's heroics and the woodwork denied Suarez a third hat-trick of the campaign.
The Kop celebrated Liverpool's place at the Premier League summit in song late on before lauding their special No 7.
'The Reds Are Coming Up The Hill Boys', declared the banner. With Suarez leading the charge the sky's the limit.