Curtis Jones scored twice as Liverpool defeated Leicester 3-0 at the King Power on Monday, keeping up their quest of Champions League play for the next season and pushing Leicester even further away from the Championship.
Liverpool drew to within one point of the top four as Trent Alexander-Arnold completed another strong outing in his new hybrid right-back/midfield position.
The Reds' seven-game winning run has increased the pressure on their opponents, who each have three games left to Liverpool's two. Jurgen Klopp's team still needs a late-season collapse from Manchester United or Newcastle, but they also need the Reds to lose one of their next two games.
It's all we can do, Klopp stated. If they fall and we're not there, that would be a great pity. So, we must do our duties.
“I believe we have qualified for European football, which wasn't likely six weeks ago.”
Leicester's days in the Premier League are numbered as they are still two points from safety with two games left, seven years after startling the world by winning the championship.
Next Monday, when they go to Newcastle, they will face another difficult challenge that might determine their destiny if Everton or Leeds win the weekend encounter.
We just need to triumph in our next match, according to interim Leicester manager Dean Smith. “St James' Park will be challenging. To take the initiative once would be good.
A strong start from the hosts was soon forgotten as Jones scored twice in three minutes shortly after the halfway point, exposing the Foxes' defensive flaws once again.
Alisson Becker's long pass forward enabled Luis Diaz to sprint on it before it broke for Mohamed Salah to cross for an unmarked Jones to score the game's first goal at the far post.
A few seconds later, Salah was the creator once again as Jones used an incredible touch to control and finish past the defenseless Daniel Iversen.
“I thought the second goal looked like we had frazzled minds from the kick-off,” Smith said.
“We need to think more clearly under pressure and have clearer minds.”
When Cody Gakpo missed a wonderful opportunity to make it 3-0 by firing straight at Iversen, the home fans suddenly turned against their own team and boos were heard.
Although scoring goals has not been an issue for Leicester this season, their attack seemed blundering as Smith's team's confidence diminished.
Alexander-Arnold's new position as a deep-lying playmaker in midfield while in possession has coincided with Liverpool's improvement in form after a challenging season.
19 minutes from time, after Salah had touched a free-kick into his path, the England international showcased his skill on the ball with a superb shot into the top corner.
The Egyptian should have scored, in addition to a hat-trick of assists, as is normal.
To the surprise of most spectators, Salah was sent through on goal by Gakpo, but he missed the net with just Iversen to beat.
Given that Liverpool is four goals behind Newcastle on goal differential, that error might still be significant.
But with another three points, the visitors completed the major task, guaranteeing that they will at the very least participate in Europa League football next year.