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Liverpool flex title credentials amid red-hot form

Liverpool led for 88 of 90 minutes as the Reds bulldozed hapless Southampton to stroll to a 4-0 win at Anfield.

Liverpool were sensational against Southampton on Saturday, winning 4-0 and moving to within a point of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

It is clear that Liverpool are legit title contenders this season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have scored 39 goals in their opening 13 games of the PL season, a new record for them after 13 games, and they were hungry, direct and dominant as Saints couldn’t cope with their movement and ruthless nature.

After their 3-2 defeat at West Ham before the international break it has been quite the response from Klopp’s boys as they’ve beaten Arsenal 4-0, FC Porto 2-0 (with a weakened team) and now Southampton 4-0 within a week.

Performance levels remain high for Reds

Speaking about their big win against Southampton, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was delighted with all aspects of the display.

“The performance level has been really high over the last few games, defending as a team properly, a threat going forward, some good football at times,” Henderson said. “So overall, we’re in a good moment but we need to continue that. I know how quickly football can change, so you’ve got to keep that momentum going, keep that consistency going and we’ve got a big game next as well, so that’s important.”

Asked about the incredible goalscoring form they are in, Henderson also pointed to the shutouts.

“That’s important but the other side is just as important. Keeping clean sheets, I think that’s the most important thing. If we can keep defending well, keep clean sheets, we’re always going to be good going forward and we’re always going to create opportunities, so I think that’s something that we want to keep with, keep enjoying them clean sheets and then obviously the goals as well.”

Klopp keeping feet on the ground

Jurgen Klopp was unhappy with some of the sloppy defensive mistakes as Alisson was forced into making a few good stops.

That shows you how high the levels are at Liverpool right now.

But Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl summed it up best.

“At the moment they are on fire,” Hasenhuttl said. “They are a very tough defending team and if you defend out they play behind and you drop they play in front. It is very tough against this team at the moment when they are in this shape. This is what we have seen today. We had chances but it is only a question of time when they speed up again. For us, I think there was no chance to take something here today.”

Rotation key to success

There is a feeling of inevitability about losing when you play against Liverpool at the moment.

Diogo Jota -- who scored twice in the 4-0 win and could have had a couple more as his movement bamboozled Southampton -- is delighted to be playing up front in the central role in such a well-oiled machine.

“In the end it is a good game for us. We adapted well to their three at the back. They changed again in the second half. We took advantage,” Jota told our partners in the UK at Sky Sports. There were spaces in the first half. A clean sheet too so a good performance. It is always easier when you start well with a goal at home. We knew in the past we have been 2-0 up and not won the game. But we did today and that is important. The most important is that we win.

“I take advantage of playing for a good team. Fortunately for me I can score goals and hopefully keep doing it. Even with the changes we make from the Champions League it is important to have everyone on board. This month it is a game every three days. We just need to keep going.”

Jota pointed to the changes from midweek and the fact Liverpool rested five starters against FC Porto showed their strength in-depth right now, even with a few injuries cropping up.

Vital run coming up

The all-conquering Reds now have a vital stretch of games in December coming up, as they face Everton in the Merseyside derby, then play Wolves, AC Milan (a much-changed side will feature in the Champions League), Newcastle, Tottenham, Leicester (League Cup quarterfinal), Leeds, Leicester and Chelsea.

That run until their clash at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on Jan. 2 will be crucial in deciding how successful this season ends up being.

The way they are playing all over the pitch right now suggests this Liverpool team will be right in the hunt for Premier League and Champions League glory this season.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports