Liverpool 4-1 Luton: Reds fight back to create breathing room at Premier League summit

Epic comeback: Liverpool produced a rousing second-half display to beat Luton 4-1 (REUTERS)
Epic comeback: Liverpool produced a rousing second-half display to beat Luton 4-1 (REUTERS)

Liverpool guaranteed that they will remain top of the Premier League table by the time they return to top-flight action following the Carabao Cup final having produced a scintillating second-half comeback to thwart Luton.

Chiedozie Ogbene’s 12th-minute header against the run of play in Wednesday night’s rearranged fixture had the plucky Hatters on track for a first-ever win at Anfield that would have moved them out of the relegation zone and three points clear of danger, the Republic of Ireland winger helping to capitalise on a sluggish and disjointed first half from a depleted Reds side missing Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez as well as the likes of Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alisson Becker, among others.

However, Liverpool fought back valiantly to turn the game on its head in the space of just 125 seconds after the interval, with captain Virgil van Dijk heading in an equaliser from Alexis Mac Allister’s corner before Cody Gakpo then quickly glanced home Mac Allister’s cross from the byline after Luton were caught napping at a throw-in following a substitution.

Luis Diaz, guilty of wasting several strong chances in the first half, finally struck to put the game beyond Luton’s reach with less than 20 minutes to play, with Harvey Elliott then marking his 100th Liverpool appearance - he is the fourth-youngest player to achieve the feat - with a powerful late effort to add further gloss to the scoreline.

Liverpool now head into Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Chelsea, which could be beloved outgoing manager Jurgen Klopp’s last major final at Wembley, comforted by the knowledge that neither City - who battled to a 1-0 home win over Brentford on Tuesday night thanks to Erling Haaland’s goal to move within a point of the leaders - nor Arsenal can hope to knock them off top spot as they take on Bournemouth and Newcastle respectively on Saturday evening.

Their comeback continued an imperious run of home form on a night that marked exactly a year to the day since they last lost a match in any competition at fortress Anfield, when they blew an early two-goal lead to lose 5-2 against rampant Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

A four-point gap to City (and five to Arsenal) means that Liverpool - who have now played a game more than both of their title rivals - will definitely still be top by the time they return to league action away at Nottingham Forest on March 2, with a home fifth-round FA Cup tie against Championship promotion-chasers Southampton to follow their latest date at Wembley.

For Luton, they remain in the bottom three following a third straight loss though again will have taken heart from an impressive first-half display in their battle against the drop.

They have no league game this weekend on account of the Liverpool fixture being brought forward due to a clash with the Carabao Cup final, hosting holders Manchester City in the FA Cup next before another tough game to come against Aston Villa back at Kenilworth Road.