Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi proved a devastating double act as Liverpool ran riot at St Mary’s.
Sturridge marked his first start under Jurgen Klopp with two goals before Origi added a hat-trick and Jordon Ibe got on the scoresheet too.
Klopp has endured some satisfying nights in his brief 11-game reign as Liverpool boss, most notably the wins at Chelsea and Manchester City, and this was yet another.
Liverpool produced a stunning response to falling behind to Sadio Mane’s opener after just 41 seconds as they hit Saints for six to reach the Capital One Cup last four.
And little would have delighted Klopp more than Sturridge’s return to action and the scoresheet. When he plays like he did in his 58 minutes on the pitch it is easy to see why Liverpool haven’t given up on him.
A lesser player with his injury record might have been discarded a long time ago.
But Sturridge is a class act when his body allows him to be and produced two more reminders of his ability with his four-minute first-half brace that kick-started Liverpool’s comeback.
Sturridge’s start was the headline news in a Liverpool team featuring six changes while Southampton made five, though still fielded their strongest available side in the absence of injured skipper Jose Fonte.
Ronald Koeman’s pre-match pleas to the home fans to lay off the boos for Liverpool’s former Saints stars fell on deaf ears.
They had only just finished showering Dejan Lovren with their opening barrage of abuse before they had a goal to cheer after 41 seconds.
Dusan Tadic and Ryan Bertrand combined down the left for the latter to swing over a cross which Mane nodded in at the back post.
Southampton’s lead could easily have been 3-0 inside 10 minutes. Victor Wanyama headed a Tadic cross from the left straight at Adam Bogdan before Steven Davis curled over from the edge of the box.
But, rather than rack up the sort of lead their early dominance deserved, Southampton found themselves behind by the half-hour when Sturridge turned the tie on its head.
Joe Allen teed up his first goal with a delightful curling ball over the top of Southampton’s defence.
The chance looked to have gone when Sturridge let the ball run across him and away from goal but Steven Caulker gave him far too much time and space and Sturridge shifted the ball to his left with a step-over and smashed it into the bottom corner.
Emre Can teed up his second in the 29th minute with a ball even more audacious than Allen’s, bent into Sturridge’s path with the outside of his foot.
Again Caulker – rusty on his first start for over a month – was all at sea and he let Can’s pass sail over his head to Sturridge who swept it effortlessly past Maarten Stekelenburg.
And where Southampton failed, Liverpool succeeded by turning their dominance into a two-goal lead just before half-time.
Adam Lallana, who also got dogs’ abuse from the same fans who used to worship him, swept over a corner that drifted all the way out to Alberto Moreno.
The Spaniard’s first-time shot was going in even before Origi got a little nick on it to open his account for Liverpool.
Southampton needed half-time and seemed to have regained their composure after the break. But it was Liverpool who struck next to put the game to bed in the 68th minute.
Ibe, who came on for Sturridge, drove in off the right wing and slipped the ball through to Origi who did the rest with a thumping finish.
Ibe then produced one of his own from Moreno’s cross to make it 5-1 before Origi sealed Liverpool’s wonderful victory by heading home number six for his hat-trick.
Under Klopp, Liverpool have scored three at Chelsea, four at Manchester City, and now six at Southampton – pity poor Newcastle who host the Reds this Sunday.
Source: Daily Mirror
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