Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said two goals from Mohamed Salah helped his side to a "perfect day" as they eased past Southampton to secure three Premier League wins in a row for the first time in 2017.

After a competitive start at Anfield, Egypt forward Salah curled high into the net from 18 yards, punishing Dusan Tadic for losing possession near his own area.

The strike gave the home side added swagger and a fine Philippe Coutinho threaded pass picked out an expertly-timed run as Salah prodded the second.

No Premier League player has more goals in all competitions than Salah's 14 this season and though he was quieter after the break, Coutinho picked up the mantle to stab home when Roberto Firmino's shot was saved.

In all, Liverpool had 21 shots at goal and are the only side to find the net three times against Mauricio Pellegrino's team this season.

"It was an open game. We had more chances before we scored and we needed to be patient in a lively way," said Klopp, whose side are fifth, a point behind Tottenham in fourth.

"The first goal - wow. I have nothing to do with the goal and the second was a fantastic pass and Mo Salah makes great runs. We could have scored more often but it was a perfect day for us."

Southampton, a side perhaps carrying little confidence in their attacking ability given their return of just nine league goals this season, wilted after Salah curled in the opener.

Tadic's error was telling but the authority Salah exuded in the finish pointed once more to him being a player of the highest quality - and not the one Chelsea allowed to leave permanently for Roma after just 19 appearances.

His second, squeezed past Fraser Forster after a brilliant run on the blind side of his marker to collect Coutinho's outside-of-the-foot pass, took his haul to nine goals in his first 12 league games.

That tally is better than that of Reds legend Robbie Fowler, who managed eight goals in the same number of matches - a record which had stood as the best start any player had made to their Liverpool career in the Premier League.

The reception Salah got when he was replaced on 80 minutes summed up the depth of feeling the club's fans already have for him.

The understanding in Coutinho and Salah's link-up play will surely have pleased Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who allayed fears over his health this week after he was taken to hospital on Wednesday.

His side never looked like causing him stress against Saints and, prior to the opener, Georginio Wijnaldum had had a shot saved, while Coutinho had dragged a shot wide.

Pellegrino's side often dropped into a 4-5-1 shape without the ball and in doing so allowed Coutinho plenty of possession to orchestrate from deep. It meant his influence could not be limited and by half-time he had touched the ball 45 times.

Adding to the dynamic was the fact this was the first time Coutinho, Firmino, Salah and Sadio Mane had started a game together this season and their threat occupied the visitors, who touched the ball just once in the Liverpool area during the opening half.

After the break, Coutinho fired wide after again dribbling from deep and Firmino went close twice, once when denied by a timely Ryan Bertrand challenge and later when pulling a low shot inches wide.

Salah will take the plaudits and rightly so but Coutinho, who is still linked with a move away, remains fundamental in injecting guile and tempo into attacks.

His finish from 12 yards was straight forward and he has now been directly involved in 14 goals in his last 15 league appearances for the Reds. It remains critical they keep hold of him.

Southampton, without influential defensive midfielder Mario Lemina through injury, never looked like threatening short of Bertrand going close with a free-kick when the score was 2-0 and a Charlie Austin header that flew over late on.

"We started well with energy, with shape and didn't give them too much space to create - but we made a couple of mistakes and it was really difficult for us to come back," said former Liverpool player and coach Pellegrino.

Pellegrino looks to have serious work to do as again his attack looked blunt. Shane Long - without a goal since February - did not manage a shot in his 79 minutes on the pitch.

Saints left Merseyside without an effort on target, a flaw in their game which is becoming common and undoubtedly contributing to a run of just four wins in 20 league games.

Man of the match - Mohamed Salah

Source: BBC

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