Diogo Jota sparks Liverpool's rout of Southampton with first-half double

A gust of glorious off-the-ball movement hurricaned through Southampton as Liverpool once showcased the art of their firepower in a victory to strengthen their title credentials.

Diogo Jota sparks Liverpool’s rout of Southampton with first-half double
© Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring an early goal

– Getty

Storm Arwen had severely disrupted travel systems and power supply, but could not derail Jurgen Klopp’s side from engaging in yet another attacking feast, carving up their opponents with intricate one-touch play and repeated threatening bursts into the final third.

Saints were not terrible by any stretch and had strong openings of their own, but there was no cracking the conundrum of Liverpool’s offensive blurs. Before the clock struck the hour mark, Southampton were 4-0 down and that was perhaps a fortunate scoreline given the hosts had 12 shots inside the area during the first-half alone.

Diogo Jota’s double was complemented by strikes from Thiago and Virgil van Dijk to do the damage in another display that spoke to Liverpool’s slant towards their attacking might rather than defensive steel.

Saturday represented the 12th time this season they have scored three or more times – a staggering statistic given only 20 matches have been played.

The top three scorers in the league are all Liverpool representatives: Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Jota.

The latter had bagged after just a minute and 37 seconds to record the fastest league goal in the campaign, while also rapidly corrupting Southampton’s gameplan.

Ralph Hasenhuttl altered his system for the game, utilising a 3-4-3, and they were exposed out wide with Andy Robertson sensational after a much-needed and well-earned rest.

It was the left-back who squared for Jota to ignite Liverpool’s attacking flames that scorched the visitors, whose attempts to set their own fires were snuffed out.

Diogo Jota sparks Liverpool’s rout of Southampton with first-half double
© Provided by The Independent Diogo Jota scores for Liverpool (PA)

Alisson denied James Ward-Prowse immediately after the opener when Thiago was dispossessed on the edge of his box.

Mane glanced wide from another excellent Robertson cross, before being sliced down by Jan Bednarek and having a goal disallowed for a marginal offside.

The game was only 12 minutes in and the action was relentless, with a backdrop of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” sung at that point to mark the heart-wrenching, senseless death of young Ava White in Liverpool city centre.

Salah had a curling effort swing just wide shortly after, with Alisson blocking well from Broja at his feet.

Every brief Southampton positive was punctured by Liverpool panache and ruthlessness. Jordan Henderson slipped Salah in brilliantly down the right of the box and he slid a measured ball across goal for Jota to slot into the far post.

Barely having a chance to recover from that, Saints were undone again when Thiago’s step-over, switch to the left foot and shot took a slice off Lyanco, flying into the top-left corner.

Jota and Salah both had opportunities to further swell the scoreline before Alisson produced a superb intervention to deny Adam Armstrong.

Alex McCarthy matched it by thwarting a Mane curler post-break. Liverpool would eventually add another with Van Dijk easily peeling away from Oriol Romeu to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner with a low volley.

Another Southampton chance would materialise and not matter. An unmarked Armstrong didn’t connect with an effort from six yards out with Ibrahima Konate and Alisson averting the danger.

Liverpool didn’t stop coming, but to Hasenhuttl’s relief, they did stop scoring.

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