Liverpool at the Summit
Liverpool at the summit
Liverpool brandished their credentials as potential Premiership champions with a 6-0 thrashing of Derby that sent them to the top of the league for the first time in five years on Saturday.
The Anfield romp against the league's bottom side was enough to lift Rafael Benitez's men to the summit, although only goal difference divides them from Chelsea and Everton, who continued their fine start to the campaign by snatching a last-minute winner at Bolton.
Chelsea can reclaim top spot when they visit Aston Villa on Sunday while champions Manchester United were due to entertain Sunderland later on Saturday.
Michael Owen gave England boss Steve McClaren cause for optimism ahead of next week's important Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel with a late winner for Newcastle at home to Wigan.
Liverpool boss Benitez was without assistant Paco Ayestaran following the revelation earlier this week that his long-time number two wants to quit the club.
But any unrest behind the scenes was papered over by a slick performance from a side missing injured duo Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
Midfielder Xabi Alonso and 26-million-pound forward Fernando Torres both scored twice while Ryan Babel, with his first goal for the club, and Ukrainian hitman Andriy Voronin also found the net.
Now the small matter of holding on to the lead ... sigh.
"And do not curse those who call on other than GOD, lest they blaspheme and curse GOD, out of ignorance. We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done." (Qur'an 6:108)