Jürgen Klopp hailed Roberto Firmino as a unique talent after the Liverpool No.9 created three goals on Saturday.

The Brazilian’s exquisite use of the ball set up strikes for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah as Southampton were beaten 4-0 at Anfield.

“He is [unique],” said Klopp. “He is just exceptional, a very football-smart person, obviously.

“In the first half, in between a really tight formation of Southampton, the way he drops and keeps the ball, how he makes things happen is very special, absolutely.

“Then even a player like Bobby needs an address where he can send the ball, because he cannot take the ball and turn and run alone.

“How he uses the skills of his mates is special. I do not know a player like him, that is true.”

Liverpool’s victory was their 20th in a row at home in the Premier League, equalling the competition record.

It lengthened the Reds’ lead at the summit to 22 points and that advantage remained intact after second-placed Manchester City lost at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Klopp’s men had to show resolve in the face of a difficult Saints team, who created a series of chances either side of half-time before the hosts surged clear on the scoresheet.

“It is not about closing the book of the season after a day like Saturday and thinking it is done. It is not done. It is all about showing the respect for the opposition with the attitude,” said the boss.

“Hendo is one example. There are plenty of others. But did he look like the captain of a team that is 19 points ahead? Not for a second.

“It looked like if we lose we are relegated. That is how the boys were. That is the only way for us to win a game. It is always the same.”

Fabinho came back into the starting XI at the weekend, meaning Henderson moved further forward in midfield.

The skipper duly supplied a clinical second goal on the afternoon and then served a classy assist for Salah to stretch the lead - two highlights of his latest outstanding performance.

“It was easy to move Hendo. Fabinho is naturally more a defensive-orientated player than Hendo,” explained Klopp.

“We had to control the counter-attacks of Southampton. He [Fabinho] has struggled with rhythm. The first two games when he came on it was not Fabinho before he got injured. That is normal, so Saturday was a big step for him. He was key for us.

“We needed a calm player in the centre, not too active. That was the change at half-time. We used him more for the switches - find Fabinho, pass to the other side and then accelerate and use the power of Hendo in the half-spaces.”

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