Liverpool reclaimed top spot in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory in the sunshine at Cardiff City on Sunday afternoon.
After a hard-fought first half, Georginio Wijnaldum broke the deadlock with an unstoppable thump on 57 minutes and James Milner’s late penalty guaranteed three crucial points for the Reds.
Here are five talking points from Wales…
Gini comes up with the goods
The celebration told you everything.
BIG 3⃣ POINTS 👊 https://t.co/i5vcQpQvd3— LFC (Liverpool FC) 21st Apr 16:53
Liverpool needed a breakthrough as the hour mark loomed in Wales and they got it from an unerring swing of Wijnaldum’s right boot, the Dutchman walloping Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cut-back corner into the back of the net from inside the area.
The emphatic nature of the strike was reminiscent of Mohamed Salah’s thunderbolt at Anfield a week earlier and the outpouring of emotion as keenly felt in front of the travelling Reds in the stand to their left.
It was goal No.3 of the season for Wijnaldum – and without doubt his most vital.
Alisson’s important intervention
Liverpool had the better chances of the opening 45 minutes, with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Salah each unable to send finishes past Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
But despite the visitors’ dominance in the sunshine, including 80 per cent of the possession, they needed Alisson Becker to make another timely save in Wales.
The game was in its 44th minute when Oumar Niasse guided a dipping effort towards goal that Alisson carefully – and importantly – tipped over the crossbar.
His save ensured the Reds had the platform to go on and win the contest after the interval, and it contributed to the Brazilian’s 19th Premier League clean sheet of the campaign.
Alisson continues to lead the Golden Glove race, with two more shutouts than his closest rival: Manchester City’s Ederson.
This was Jürgen Klopp’s team’s ninth consecutive success in all competitions and their 27th Premier League victory of the season so far.
Only three times in club history have Liverpool racked up so many in a single campaign, with 27 wins achieved in the Second Division in both 1904-05 (34 fixtures) and 1961-62 (42 fixtures).
Their top-flight record stands at 30, a feat registered during the 1978-79 season.
This current side can, of course, still match that tally if they beat Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their remaining three league fixtures.
8️⃣8️⃣ Premier League points! The most @LFC have ever managed in the #PL 👏 https://t.co/Nr9rPcdtEo— premierleague (Premier League) 21st Apr 17:01
The assist race gets interesting
Alexander-Arnold moved up to double figures for assists this season when Wijnaldum lashed his corner from the right flank beyond Etheridge.
In doing so, the No.66 further closed the gap in his ongoing friendly competition with fellow full-back Andy Robertson to see who can accrue the highest number in 2018-19.
A string of assists by Alexander-Arnold in recent weeks have hauled him just one short of Robertson in the battle – the Scot now leading 11 to 10.
Whatever happens between now and the end of the campaign, you can be certain Klopp is delighted with the outstanding productivity of his players on the flank.
The race continues
City’s 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday left Liverpool with little room for error on their visit to Cardiff City Stadium.
And, ultimately, they got the necessary job done in the second half through Wijnaldum’s piledriver and Milner’s penalty.
That means the Reds once again lead the Premier League by two points ahead of the long-awaited game in hand for Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions: Wednesday night’s Manchester derby.
After that, it’s three matches apiece in this relentless duel for the title.