Luis Suarez helped Liverpool move top of the league with a win over Cardiff, as doubts remain over the future of Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay.

Mackay is in conflict with owner Vincent Tan and saw his side go behind through an 18-yard Luis Suarez volley.

Suarez, who signed a contract extension on Friday, set up Raheem Sterling for a tap-in and curled in a shot before Jordon Mutch headed in for Cardiff.

Support 'humbles' Cardiff boss Mackay

The visiting fans stayed after the game to chant their support for Mackay.

The Bluebirds boss stood on the Anfield pitch for some time after the final whistle and applauded his side's supporters, many of whom were holding up banners against Tan.

There had been doubts as to whether Mackay would be in the dug-out for the game after being told in the week to resign or face being sacked by Tan, who was at the match.

But despite the owner discussing his manager's future with chairman Mehmet Dalman at a meeting on Friday night, Mackay was in charge for a game which resulted in Cardiff's eighth defeat of the campaign.

The home side made sure they did not get distracted by the sideshow surrounding the game, and Suarez's performance came on the back of the 26-year-old signing a new four-and-half-year deal with the in-form Reds.

Liverpool have scored 17 goals in their last four league games and, depending on the result between Arsenal and Chelsea on Monday, they could head the top flight at Christmas for the first time since 2009, when they went on to finish second. The last time the Reds were top at Christmas and won the league was in 1987-88.

Cardiff started the game promisingly and went close early on when a swift counter attack resulted in Mutch playing a ball though to Craig Noone, whose 22-yard shot was palmed over by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Analysis

"If that is the last game for Malky Mackay as Cardiff manager, then he can be proud of his side's second half. The result was beyond them, but Cardiff played with determination and pride. Mackay stood tall in defeat on the pitch afterwards and possibly in the face of the sack."

Liverpool responded with a Suarez shot being deflected wide and a well-struck Sterling effort being blocked before they eventually broke through the Bluebirds blockade.

Joe Allen laid the ball off to Jordan Henderson on the left side of the area and he crossed for Suarez, who had initiated the move, to volley past keeper David Marshall for his 18th league goal of the season.

The Reds almost doubled their lead only to be twice denied by the post. First, Philippe Coutinho gathered a short Suarez corner, burst into the area and saw his angled shot come back off the woodwork.

Right-back Glen Johnson's cross then found left-back Jon Flanagan and his first-time side-foot came off the face of the same post before Marshall cleared.

The chances began to flow for Liverpool and after Henderson released Suarez with a piercing outside-of-the-boot pass, the Uruguayan squared for Sterling to tap in.

Suarez added an impressive third just before the break, latching on to the tireless and improving Henderson's backheel to curl a low shot into the bottom corner.

Cardiff reacted by putting the Anfield side under pressure in the second half and were rewarded with a goal when Mutch was left unmarked to steer in a header from Peter Whittingham's free-kick.

Suarez is a remarkable man - Rodgers

The visitors might have had a penalty for Reds centre-back Martin Skrtel holding Steven Caulker but referee Lee Probert saw no foul.

Liverpool regrouped and regained their grip on the game and, after Sterling's shot was saved, Suarez struck the follow-up against the outside of the post as the home side claimed an 11th league win of the season.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers:

"Luis Suarez was outstanding again in a very good team performance. The fluency of our football in the first half was excellent, and our pressing is now at a really high level.

"We started the second half brightly, but are disappointed with a slack goal.

"I do not think about the title. I still believe it is for Manchester City to lose. We stay calm."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (5)

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Johnson
  • 38 Flanagan (Kelly - 55' )
  • 21 Lucas
  • 37 Skrtel Booked
  • 17 Sakho
  • 24 Allen
  • 14 Henderson
  • 07 Suárez
  • 31 Sterling Booked
  • 10 Coutinho (Agger - 83' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 04 K Touré
  • 05 Agger
  • 06 Luis Alberto
  • 09 Iago Aspas
  • 12 Moses
  • 34 Kelly

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 28 Théophile-Catherine
  • 03 Taylor
  • 08 Medel (Campbell - 55' )
  • 04 Caulker
  • 06 Turner
  • 16 Noone
  • 18 Mutch
  • 11 Odemwingie (Kim Bo-kyung - 55' )
  • 17 Gunnarsson (Cornelius - 80' )
  • 07 Whittingham

Substitutes

  • 05 Hudson
  • 09 Cornelius
  • 10 Campbell
  • 13 Kim Bo-kyung
  • 19 Cowie
  • 32 Lewis
  • 42 John
Ref: Lee Probert
Att: 44,621

Match Stats

Shots

27 10

On target

7 3

Corners

9 5

Fouls

11 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Liverpool 3, Cardiff City 1.

90:00 +4:05 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Liverpool 3, Cardiff City 1.

90:00 +3:28

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ben Turner.

90:00 +1:55

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Suárez following a corner.

90:00 +1:38

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Craig Noone.

90:00 +0:54

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:54

Foul by Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City).

90:00 +0:04

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

90:00 +0:04

Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:59

Attempt blocked. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

89:10

Attempt saved. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling with a through ball.

87:12

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

87:12

Foul by Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City).

85:03

Attempt missed. Steven Caulker (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Craig Noone with a cross.

84:16

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Daniel Agger.

82:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Daniel Agger replaces Philippe Coutinho.

81:52

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jordan Henderson following a fast break.

80:51

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

80:12

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

80:12

Foul by Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City).

79:47

Attempt missed. Craig Noone (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

79:25 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Andreas Cornelius replaces Aron Gunnarsson.

78:54

Offside, Liverpool. Joe Allen tries a through ball, but Jordan Henderson is caught offside.

77:33

Attempt missed. Joe Allen (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a cross following a corner.

77:08

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Andrew Taylor.

76:46

Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:46

Foul by Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City).

75:00

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box.

73:04

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kévin Théophile-Catherine.

71:19 Booking

Booking Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

70:55

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

70:55

Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

70:40

Attempt missed. Steven Caulker (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross following a corner.

70:18

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Martin Kelly.

70:07

Attempt blocked. Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Peter Whittingham.

67:25

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ben Turner.

67:23

Attempt blocked. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Glen Johnson.

66:08

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Andrew Taylor.

65:06

Attempt saved. Ben Turner (Cardiff City) header from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross.

64:34

Foul by Luis Suárez (Liverpool).

64:34

Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

63:51

Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

63:51

Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

60:57

Attempt missed. Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross following a corner.

60:39

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Lucas Leiva.

58:42

Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:42

Foul by Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City).

57:37 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 3, Cardiff City 1. Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross following a set piece situation.

57:08

Foul by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).

57:08

Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

56:37

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

56:37

Foul by Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City).

54:50 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Martin Kelly replaces Jon Flanagan.

54:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Fraizer Campbell replaces Gary Medel.

54:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Kim Bo-Kyung replaces Peter Odemwingie.

52:56

Foul by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).

52:56

Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:56

Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

50:30

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lucas Leiva.

49:52

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

49:52

Foul by Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City).

47:50

Offside, Liverpool. Jordan Henderson tries a through ball, but Philippe Coutinho is caught offside.

46:32

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

46:10

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ben Turner.

45:00

Second Half begins Liverpool 3, Cardiff City 0.

45:00 +1:12 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Liverpool 3, Cardiff City 0.

44:41 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 3, Cardiff City 0. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

42:52

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left.

41:31 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 2, Cardiff City 0. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez following a fast break.

40:35 Booking

Booking Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

40:22

Foul by Martin Skrtel (Liverpool).

40:22

Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

38:02

Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez with a through ball.

37:11

Attempt saved. Jon Flanagan (Liverpool) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Glen Johnson with a cross.

34:28

Attempt missed. Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Jon Flanagan with a cross following a set piece situation.

33:56

Jon Flanagan (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

33:56

Foul by Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City).

32:47

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) hits the left post with a right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left. Assisted by Luis Suárez following a corner.

32:21

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Steven Caulker.

31:00

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:00

Foul by Peter Odemwingie (Cardiff City).

30:06

Attempt missed. Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho.

28:26

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

28:26

Craig Noone (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

24:19 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 1, Cardiff City 0. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

24:02

Attempt blocked. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Leiva.

23:09

Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

23:09

Foul by Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).

22:36

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:36

Foul by Peter Odemwingie (Cardiff City).

21:13

Offside, Cardiff City. Aron Gunnarsson tries a through ball, but Peter Odemwingie is caught offside.

18:59

Foul by Martin Skrtel (Liverpool).

18:59

Peter Odemwingie (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:51

Attempt blocked. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mamadou Sakho with a headed pass.

17:13

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Andrew Taylor.

17:12

Attempt blocked. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho.

15:00

Attempt missed. Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross following a corner.

14:19

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Simon Mignolet.

14:15

Attempt saved. Craig Noone (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jordon Mutch.

12:56

Attempt blocked. Joe Allen (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

11:48

Attempt missed. Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right misses to the left.

8:40

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

8:40

Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:51

Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:51

Foul by Peter Odemwingie (Cardiff City).

7:22

Jon Flanagan (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:22

Foul by Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City).

6:51

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Jon Flanagan.

5:39

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Joe Allen.

5:36

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Raheem Sterling following a fast break.

1:39

Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

1:39

Andrew Taylor (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

1:37

Attempt saved. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Joe Allen.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

Live data and text provided by our data suppliers