Outstanding Liverpool hit Saints for four to move second

Outstanding Liverpool hit Saints for four to move second
© PA Liverpool stolled to victory to move second in the Premier League

Liverpool moved second in the Premier League – for 24 hours at least – as they strolled past Southampton with a commanding 4-0 win at Anfield.  

Liverpool were unapologetic in their style of play, giving Saints chances but never once relenting in their own attacking endeavours, blitzing their opponents in the first half. They went ahead inside 97 seconds through Diogo Jota, converting Andrew Robertson’s low cross for the fastest Premier League goal of the season.

Jota got his second with another close-range finish, this time from Mo Salah’s centre (32), and Thiago put the game beyond Saints’ reach before the break as his left-footed drive deflected off Lyanco and into the net (37), his second goal in as many games.

Virgil van Dijk scored his first Liverpool goal since the opening day of last season to make it 4-0, driving low from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner (52), and that’s how it stayed as Jurgen Klopp’s side claimed back-to-back 4-0 wins in the Premier League.

Liverpool have now scored 39 goals this season after just 13 games, nine more than any other team. They sit a point behind Chelsea, but will move down to third if Man City beat West Ham on Sunday. After back-to-back defeats, Southampton are 14th.

How the teams lined up | Match statsPremier League results: Everton next for RedsPremier League table: Liverpool secondGet Sky Sports | Live football on Sky Sports How Liverpool breezed past Saints for another 4-0 win

Ralph Hasenhuttl – dubbed ‘The Alpine Klopp’ – may have got the better of his coaching friend when these two sides met in January, which prompted an emotional celebration from the Austrian, but Liverpool were in complete control from minute one at Anfield.

Jota, operating as a false nine, bamboozled the Saints’ three-man central defence all afternoon, pulling them here, there and everywhere as Liverpool ran riot in the first half.

He opened the scoring after just two minutes, stretching at close range to direct Robertson’s centre past Alex McCarthy during a frenzied opening in which both sides had chances.

Some slack play from Thiago almost allowed James Ward-Prowse in moments later, denied by Alisson at his feet, before Salah’s trademark curling effort form the corner of the box fell just wide.

Liverpool, always susceptible to giving away chances, fell asleep again from their own throw in to allow Armando Broja space down the left flank; Ibrahima Konate could not catch him, but Alisson was there again to block.

Saints press meant the contest resembled a basketball match in the first 30 minutes, but Liverpool blitzed Saints with two quickfire goals to put the game out of reach.

Jota grabbed his second of the game and eighth of the season on 32 minutes, tapping home at the far post from Salah’s delicious centre across the face of goal after Henderson had slipped him through on the right of the box, though there was a shout for a handball on Alexander-Arnold in the build-up.

Jota was denied a hat-trick by a last-ditch Lyanco block, but the defender’s heroics were quickly forgotten as he deflected Thiago’s left-footed drive from just inside the box into the far corner of the net. Thiago, brimming with confidence after netting a stunner in midweek against Porto, had done well initially to latch onto a half-cleared ball and produce a sumptuous step-over to find a yard to shoot.

The action kept coming as Adam Armstrong forced an excellent save out of Alisson low to his right, but despite a double substitution at half-time and a change to a back four, Liverpool continued to swarm forward.

After McCarthy had tipped wide Sadio Mane’s long-range shot, Liverpool scored from the resulting corner. Alexander-Arnold’s delivery fell to Van Dijk on the penalty spot after the defender peeled away from Oriol Romeu far too easily, and his first-time strike squirmed under McCarthy for four.

Saints still had plenty of opportunities – Armstrong should have done better as his mishit was blocked by Konate at point-blank range – but the best fell to Liverpool as Jota missed a fine chance for his hat-trick, touching wide from six yards out from another outstanding Robertson delivery.

Liverpool barely took their foot off the gas until the full-time whistle, but couldn’t create any further clear chances. It ended 4-0, but it could have easily been at least six, with Klopp’s side looking in fantastic shape and back to their very best ahead of the busy winter schedule.

What the pundit said

Sky Sports’ Paul Merson:

“Without playing great they’ve just won a Premier League football match 4-0. This is the difference between those in the top three. Teams in the bottom half have to play to their absolute maximum to win a match and Liverpool, who weren’t even great, stroll up and win 4-0. That tells you what the other teams are up against.”

Opta statsLiverpool have now scored 2+ goals in 17 consecutive games in all competitions – becoming only the second ever English top-flight club to achieve this feat after Sunderland in 1927 (17).Liverpool have scored 39 goals in their 13 Premier League games this season, their highest goal total at this stage of a top-flight campaign.Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 25 goals in all competitions this season (17 goals, 8 assists), more than double that of any other Premier League player.Only Wayne Rooney (22y 200d) and Cesc Fàbregas (21y 188d) have reached 40 Premier League assists at a younger age than Trent Alexander-Arnold (23 years & 51 days). What’s next?

Liverpool now go to city rivals Everton on Wednesday night at 8.15pm, while Southampton host Leicester on Wednesday at 7.30pm. Free highlights from both games will be available on the Sky Sports website, App and YouTube channel.

Outstanding Liverpool hit Saints for four to move second
Outstanding Liverpool hit Saints for four to move second
Outstanding Liverpool hit Saints for four to move second
Outstanding Liverpool hit Saints for four to move second
Outstanding Liverpool hit Saints for four to move second
Diogo Jota scores early for Liverpool Diogo Jota celebrates scoring his second goal with Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson Thiago celebrates scoring Liverpool’s third with Sadio Mane Thiago celebrates after scoring Liverpool’s third goal Liverpool stolled to victory to move second in the Premier League

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