Against Southampton, Liverpool did not need to be at their very best to collect the three points, but it was a performance that was much more like the ones that the Reds have become used to putting in against teams in the bottom half of the table at Anfield.
Goalkeeper Alisson Becker was superb and made a couple of vital stops to deny the visitors, but Liverpool had at least as many clear-cut chances at the other end of the field to score and had they been slightly more clinical, it could have been a much bigger scoreline.
The reason for that turnaround in performance level was simple: their midfield, lacking so much for most of this season, was individually and collectively excellent, even with Jordan Henderson absent for personal reasons and a string of injuries meaning other absences.
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The plan at the start of the season was to field Harvey Elliott on the right of the central trio, with Henderson slowly phased out of being a regular starter. Elliott's top-class performance here showed why.
Up until this point in the campaign, however, there has been another reason that the midfield has struggled to function properly, even against some of the lesser teams like Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.
Fabinho, in particular, has been desperately out of form in the centre of the pitch, with no other natural holding midfielder (18-year-old Stefan Bajčetić aside) among Jürgen Klopp's ranks to help ease the load on an exhausted and overused player.
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On this occasion, though, he was excellent. Lively and much more full of energy than he has been for most of the season, Fabinho misplaced only five of his 69 attempted passes (a 93 per cent success rate), played four balls into the final third, completed five ball recoveries, and won six of his seven ground duels.
Confident, with more speed and less lethargy, this was not peak Fabinho — Southampton, in truth, didn't get enough bodies around him to force him to use those robotic legs to pinch the ball back — but it was a massive step in the right direction.
Alongside him, as well as the excellent Elliott, Thiago Alcântara was superb. At one point dummying two Southampton players in one, making himself completely resistant to the press that Nathan Jones' side were attempting, some of his touches were delightful.
James Ward-Prowse was left wondering where he had gone at one point after a classic drop of the shoulder. By now, opponents know it is coming, but they still cannot do anything about it.
The Spaniard became the latest player left out of the World Cup squad for his nation to make a mark after Ivan Toney did similarly in the lunchtime kick-off against Manchester City, with Thiago showing the strangeness of Luis Enrique's decision not to take him to Qatar.
Together, Fabinho and Thiago are a formidable and almost unbeatable partnership at their best. Add in the quality and creativity of Elliott, and when it works, it is incredible to watch.
This was a glimpse of what the Liverpool midfield is meant to look like — the next evolution, as it were — and it should be no surprise that this is the route that Klopp is aiming for.
The next challenge, of course, is to maintain and even increase the form of the trio again after the World Cup break. With a rest and a chance to work on things, that should be more than possible.