Liverpool forward Sadio Mane scores with a brilliant back-heel against Watford on Wednesday. Photo: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Liverpool rediscovered their swagger and stayed top of the Premier League with a thrilling 5-0 win over Watford, which was powered by two goals apiece from Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk on Wednesday.

Senegalese striker Sane leapt between defenders to head a close-range ninth-minute goal after a sumptuous cross from Liverpool’s marauding right back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who provided three assists on the night.

In the 20th minute, Sane received another pass in the box from Alexander-Arnold, first appearing to lose control of the ball. before cheekily back-heeling it into the net past Watford keeper Ben Foster.

Belgian forward Divock Origi made it 3-0 in the 66th minute, cutting into the box from the left wing before firing past Foster at his near post.

Dutch defender Van Dijk headed in the fourth and fifth goals late on as Watford were swept aside.

Liverpool, who had failed to score in their last two games against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and Manchester United in the Premier League, could have bagged even more as Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah also ran Watford ragged.

The result kept Liverpool top of the Premier League on 69 points, just ahead of Manchester City on 68, after the champions’ 1-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday.

Manager Jurgen Klopp looked delighted that his team, who had drawn three out of their last four league games to allow City back into the race, had found their fluency and intensity again against the Hornets.

Meanwhile, Southampton moved out of the relegation zone with a crucial 2-0 home win against struggling Fulham, their first victory in five Premier League games.

Oriol Romeu gave Southampton the lead in the 23rd minute, beating Fulham keeper Sergio Rico with a shot through a crowd.

Fulham enjoyed lots of possession, but their weaknesses at both ends of the pitch were all too apparent as Southampton doubled their advantage before the break.

Aleksandar Mitrovic had just scuffed a good chance wide for Fulham when Southampton attacked down the left, and Nathan Redmond’s low cross was parried by Rico to James Ward-Prowse, who swept in the rebound.

Despite some neat build-up play, Fulham lacked any cutting edge as Southampton comfortably held out for the victory that moved them two points above Cardiff City into 17th place.

Second-from-bottom Fulham are now 10 points behind Southampton, and looking odds-on for an instant return to the Championship.

Reuters