Premier League - Suarez smashes Cardiff and records as Liverpool go top

Premier League, Anfield - Liverpool 3 (Suarez 25, 45, Sterling 42) Cardiff City 1 (Mutch 58)

Luis Suarez celebrated his new Liverpool contract with two stunning goals and an assist in a 3-1 victory over Cardiff at Anfield.

The unstoppable Uruguayan is currently enjoying form that would make even Ballon d'Or triumvirate Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery slightly jealous - as highlighted by his role in starting and finishing Liverpool's opener on 25 minutes.

A one-touch, three-man attack was finished with trademark aplomb by the forward courtesy of a fantastic volley, and mere minutes after he had teed up Raheem Sterling to double the advantage in the 42nd, stand-in skipper Suarez topped his first - and several records.

His inch-perfect curling effort from a tight position on the stroke of half-time will be one of several contenders for goal of the season with Suarez's name on it. It was also his 10th Premier League goal of the month - a feat never before achieved.

Cardiff, whose manager Malky Mackay appears to be on his way out regardless of how they play thanks to a falling-out with chairman Vincent Tan, gave a solid account of themselves outside of being torn limb from limb by Suarez for 20 minutes, and should have had a penalty when Martin Skrtel clung onto Steven Caulker's shirt in the first half.

And when the hosts took their foot off the gas in the second half, their vulnerability at set pieces was exposed as Jordon Mutch put the Welsh side on the scoresheet to give Liverpool food for thought while they celebrate at least 48 hours atop the Premier League, with Arsenal and Chelsea doing battle on Monday.

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH - The teams are out on the pitch. 'You'll Never Walk Alone' blares on the PA. But will Malky Mackay be the exception to that rule by the end of this weekend? Win, lose or draw - probably.

14’ - Cardiff with a good break and Noone has made a run into acres of space right of centre. He's picked out and he'll have a dig from 25 yards... great two-handed parry by Mignolet!

25’ - GOOOOOOOAL SUAREZ! Rare hesitation at the back from the visitors allows Suarez to spark a three-man, one-touch attack on the edge of the box which he not only starts, but finishes with a splendid volley. He is in ridiculous form at present. 1-0!

30’ - Whittingham whips in a dangerous ball and there's appeals for a foul on Caulker who almost got his head to that despite a high foot and a clear shirt pull from Skrtel. Nothing given and Pool go on the counter before being forced to hold back by the Welsh side.

42’ - GOAL! 2-0 LIVERPOOL! Suarez leads a counter and bears through on goal before squaring for Sterling, who just about keeps onside for the easy finish.

45’ - GOOOOOOAL! Jesus wept. Suarez AGAIN! A second beautiful finish, this time curling beyond Marshall to indeed become the first man to hit 10 in one month. 3-0!

58’ - GOAL CARDIFF! A wake-up call for wasteful Liverpool in this half as Sahko is left with two players to mark at a Welsh free-kick and the one he cannot keep tabs on - Mutch - heads home what for now is a consolation. 3-1!

75’ Sterling is through! Shouts for a penalty as he goes down trying to round Marshall but Suarez has kept running and has a crack at a tight angle... hits the post!

KEY STATS

Liverpool have now won their last six Premier League home matches, their best streak since an eight-match winning streak between Dec 2009 and Mar 2010.

In addition to breaking the 10-in-a-month barrier, Suarez scores twice in a PL home match for the fifth time in a row – he is now only one goal away from scoring his 20th league goal of the season in only his 12th appearance. It took him until his 27th appearance, on 2 March, to reach 20 league goals last season.

Cardiff score for the first time in five PL away matches, and Liverpool fail to keep a clean sheet for the sixth time in seven PL home matches.

Liverpool’s 42 goals from their opening 17 matches this season is their best tally at this stage since they also notched that number in their first 17 games of the 1978-79 season.

The last time these teams met in a top flight match in Liverpool was 59 years ago on 17 April 1954 – it finished a 1-0 away win for Cardiff.

Stats courtesy of Infostrada

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

TALKING POINT

Can super Suarez mask Liverpool's weaknesses enough for a title challenge? 'Game of two halves' may be cliché, but it's often a useful one. In the first half, Liverpool waited 25 minutes to break down their guests before Suarez carved them up like next week's Christmas turkey. In the second half, almost the entire team scuppered attacks with pointless shots from outside the box to try and get in on the act, while their poor form defending set pieces this season sullied the clean sheet and almost afforded Cardiff a way back into it. It seems that Suarez will need to be this good every week if the Reds are to finally end their league title drought in 2014.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Luis Suarez, Liverpool - This particular segment of our match reports is at risk of becoming pointless for Liverpool games. Two goals and an assist, all of which were fantastic. Simply unplayable at the moment, a one-man match-winner.

PLAYER RATINGS

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet 6, Johnson 7, Flanagan 7, Skrtel 5, Sakho 6, Lucas 6, Allen 7, Henderson 8, Coutinho 5, Sterling 7, Suarez 9... Subs: Agger N/A, Kelly 5. // CARDIFF: Marshall 6, Theophile-Catherine 6, Caulker 7, Turner 7, Taylor 7, Noone 7, Medel 5, Mutch 6, Whittingham 8, Gunnarsson 5, Odemwingie 4... Subs: Kim 5, Campbell 6, Cornelius 4.