SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Liverpool continued its impressive title challenge with Luis Suarez inspiring a 3-0 victory at Southampton that moved the club to second behind Chelsea in the English Premier League on Saturday.
A tilt at the crown had never been part of Rodgers' plan this season, but recent form has given Liverpool a real chance of a first championship since 1990. The latest victory came at Southampton — the only side to have won at Anfield this season — with goals from Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool moved above Arsenal on goal difference, four points behind leader Chelsea and two points ahead of fourth-place Manchester City, which has two games in hand. "I'm sure there's many people around the Premiership looking out for us because we've got no Europe," Gerrard said of the club's midweek rest days. "We're fresh going into every game and all we asked for at the beginning of the season was can we be in it with 10 games to go, and we are certainly in it.
"We're still not the favorites, I think Chelsea and Manchester City are still the favorites, but we just need to keep going." Liverpool has 73 goals in the league this season, four more than second-highest scoring City.
"Defensively we were outstanding," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. "And we got three goals and arguably could maybe have had five or six again. So I thought tactically the players were outstanding."
On his 100th Premier League appearance, Suarez scored his first goal since January. Daniel Sturridge's ball took a fortuitous touch off Jose Fonte into Suarez's path and the striker steered it past goalkeeper Artur Boruc in the 16th minute.
It was a fine strike and one which appeared to kick-start Southampton as Rickie Lambert fired over, and Adam Lallana hit the base of the post. A venomous low Suarez strike was all Liverpool had to show after the goal, which would have been cancelled out before halftime but for the fine reactions of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. Showing why he was called-up by England this week, Southampton defender Luke Shaw went on a run and sent in a low cross that, having been stepped over by Lambert, allowed Jay Rodriguez to strike on goal, but the Belgian goalkeeper clawed the ball away.
Liverpool's defense was also holding firm to deny the hosts. The same could not be said for Southampton's, and Suarez was the architect of the second in the 58th. The Uruguay international cut the ball back for Sterling to slot home seconds after coming off the bench.
The strike put the Reds clear and saw them play with increased confidence for the remainder of the match, even if the third only came in the 90th. Suarez was caught by a Fonte flailing leg, and Gerrard stepped up to score from the penalty spot.