By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers described Luis Suarez's display against West Bromwich Albion as "magic" on Saturday after the Uruguayan's hat-trick fired his side to a 4-1 win.
Suarez bamboozled West Brom's defence to put Liverpool ahead after 12 minutes, headed a second five minutes later and then converted a Steve Gerrard delivery to make it 3-0 10 minutes after the break at Anfield.
Daniel Sturridge added a sublime chip for Liverpool's fourth as the Merseysiders moved two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal who they play next week in north London.
Liverpool's tally of 20 points after nine games is double the amount they collected a year ago when Rodgers was new to the job and while he is not getting carried away with their start, he could not disguise his delight.
"The front two were brilliant. Suarez's goals were exceptional," Rodgers, who currently boasts the best striking duo in England, said at a news conference.
"Luis could have had more when he hit the crossbar. It was his first hat-trick at Anfield and you saw his commitment to the team today."
Suarez has scored six goals in four Premier League games since returning from a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season and between them, he and Sturridge have bagged 14 so far in the league this season.
In 11 Premier League starts together, the Sturridge and Suarez partnership has yielded 17 goals.
"We were outstanding today, " Rodgers added.
"West Brom are a very good side, they went to Old Trafford and won, so for us to score four goals - and could have had a few more - it was an outstanding team performance.
"When you have the two boys up front, and that attacking threat, it's fantastic."
Suarez has scored 36 goals in his last 46 league games for Liverpool and despite the baggage he has brought to the club with various disciplinary issues, he is again the darling of the Kop faithful who daring to dream of a title challenge.
"I thought we looked a very good team today," Rodgers said. "Throughout the side, the confidence was good, and cohesively how we pressed the ball was good.
"The front two are as good as it gets and the support behind them is very good, and we've got players like young Coutinho to come back next weekend." (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Alison Wildey)