AnalysisFive talking points from Liverpool 3-1 Southampton
Darwin Nunez’s double added to an opener from Roberto Firmino to earn Liverpool a 3-1 win over Southampton in their final outing before the World Cup.
Firmino’s brilliant header put the Reds a goal to the good early on at Anfield on Saturday, but Che Adams’ quickfire equaliser drew Saints level.
However, Nunez then struck twice before the break to secure three valuable points.
Here are five talking points on the action from L4…
Liverpool 3-1 Southampton: Extended highlights
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Signing off in style
The unique quirk of a mid-season World Cup means this was Liverpool’s last match for nearly six weeks.
It feels significant that the Reds head into this enforced break on the back of a win that, including Wednesday’s penalty shootout success over Derby County, represents their fourth consecutive victory.
Such sequences of consistency have become routine over recent years, of course, but this is the first time this season Jürgen Klopp’s side have reeled off a quartet of wins in a row.
Encouraging signs, then, ahead of the resumption of the campaign in late December.
Nunez, Nunez, Nunez!
Again starting on the left of the front three, Nunez produced what is fast becoming his stock in trade: a dangerous and productive all-action performance.
Both of the Uruguayan’s first-half goals were scored from classic centre-forward positions.
Nunez’s first – a well-executed volley from a lovely, flighted pass from Harvey Elliott – was his reward after he’d played a raking switch out to Firmino earlier in the move.
His second was a thing of collective beauty, the No.27 sliding in Andy Robertson’s cross at the near post after the left-back had been found by Firmino’s perfectly weighted ball.
Nunez now has nine goals in 18 appearances for Liverpool, only 10 of which have been starts.
In providing a couple of assists in the first half, Robertson moved to within touching distance of an impressive personal record.
The Scotland skipper is now level with Leighton Baines on 53 Premier League assists – the highest number of any defender in the competition’s history.
Saturday’s set-ups were trademark Robertson: a devilish free-kick delivery for Firmino’s opener, followed by raiding sprint up the pitch and a precise low ball in for Nunez to make it 3-1.
Robertson led the way for chances created (six) and crosses (nine) and was afforded a richly deserved standing ovation when he was substituted late on.
James Milner came off the bench to record yet another milestone in his enduringly magnificent career: the vice-captain is now only the fourth man to make 600 appearances in the Premier League.
More than a third of that mighty total – 211 games – have come for Liverpool and he has, of course, won the division three times.
The No.7 is still going strong having debuted in the top flight for Leeds United on November 10, 2002 – almost exactly 20 years ago.
James Milner: a Premier League great.
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Alisson’s our goalie…
Alisson Becker is a quarter of the way to Milner’s incredible tally, with Saturday’s match the goalkeeper’s 150th Premier League appearance.
He marked the occasion with a typical display of excellence, making three outstanding saves in the second half to ensure his team held on to the three points.
The third of those stops – a lightning-quick spring and sprawl to repel Adams’ header – brought about a wry smile from the Southampton striker and a booming rendition of ‘Alisson, Alisson, Alisson!’ from the adoring home supporters.
Alisson has won 104 and lost just 17 of his 150 games in the Premier League, while keeping 68 clean sheets.
His next top-flight appearance is scheduled to be on Boxing Day – and who would bet against Brazil’s No.1 arriving at Villa Park a newly crowned World Cup winner?