Match reportLiverpool put four past Southampton to go second in the table
Liverpool moved up to second in the Premier League table with a 4-0 victory over Southampton at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
A pair of close-range finishes from Diogo Jota established a lead for the Reds that was extended by Thiago Alcantara, with help from a deflection, before half-time.
Virgil van Dijk fired in a fourth against his former team early in the second period and added gloss to an impressive win – their third in a week at Anfield.
The emphatic result moved Jürgen Klopp’s team to within a point of Chelsea at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s fixtures.
Klopp made six changes to the team that started the preceding win against FC Porto, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Jota brought in.
Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson (Milner, 67), Thiago (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 59), Mane, Salah, Jota (Minamino, 80).
Unused substitutes: Kelleher, Tsimikas, Origi, Matip, Williams, Morton.
The bitterly cold conditions on the afternoon could not prevent Liverpool from making a flying start to the contest that yielded an opening goal within two minutes.
Jota had already seen a promising chance snuffed out by a block after he seized on a slip in the Southampton defence and carried the ball to the box, before he made no such mistake moments later.
He was indebted to a slick passing exchange between Sadio Mane and Robertson on the left touchline that transformed into a chance when Mane guided a pass through the legs of Jan Bednarek for Robertson to collect in the area.
The defender clipped a cross into the middle, where Jota prodded a finish past Alex McCarthy.
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Liverpool soon needed Alisson Becker to rush from his goalline and smother James Ward-Prowse after the Saints captain’s pressing forced Thiago into a short backpass.
Mane had a clinical 12th-minute header from Robertson’s inviting free-kick disallowed for offside and Mohamed Salah later dropped a curler a couple of yards wide of the post once he showed strength to shrug off Mohammed Salisu on the right side of the box.
The Reds were grateful to Alisson again midway through the half, the goalkeeper standing up to deny Armando Broja after he picked up Alexander-Arnold’s short throw-in and ran clear of Ibrahima Konate.
But the final meaningful actions of the half came from the hosts, who extended a remarkable scoring record.
First, on 32 minutes, Salah traded passes with Henderson and scampered into space on the right-hand side, from where the No.11 was able to slide an assist across to the opposite post for Jota to convert again.
It brought up a 17th consecutive match in which Klopp’s side have scored two or more goals – the first English top-flight team to do so since Sunderland in 1927.
And things got even better seven minutes before the interval. Saints failed to sufficiently clear their lines and Thiago capitalised, shimmying around Bednarek and seeing his effort hit the roof of the net via a Lyanco deflection.
Liverpool showed no sign of letting up in the fledgling stages of the second half and McCarthy was soon stretching to tip over Mane’s dangerous curler from the left corner of the area.
But another ex-Saints man netted the Reds’ fourth from the resulting corner, with Van Dijk the first to reach Alexander-Arnold’s kick with a low drive that McCarthy could not stop.
Still Southampton presented a threat on the counter, however, and Adam Armstrong could have struck when picked out in the box by substitute Nathan Tella – only for Konate to block his first attempt and Alisson the second.
Klopp elected to change up his midfield as the hour mark arrived, with Thiago replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Henderson switched out for James Milner.
The tempo steadily eased as time ebbed away, though Jota was frustrated not to seal a hat-trick when served a plum Robertson cross to the six-yard line, his finish on the stretch instead sent off target.
But Liverpool had already done more than enough to confirm their win and will head to Goodison Park next week having beaten Arsenal, Porto and Saints without conceding.