Diogo Jota hit a brace as Liverpool breezed past Southampton 4-0 at Anfield.
Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson combined to set up the former Wolves forward to put them in front after two minutes. Half an hour later, on the other flank, Mohamed Salah played a one-two with Jordan Henderson before sliding a ball across the box for a tap-in and Jota’s second.
Five minutes before half time, the game was effectively over when Thiago Alcantara drove into the box and then saw his effort deflected past Alex McCarthy by Lyanco.
The scoreline was emphasised when Virgil van Dijk was allowed to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner with a half-volley which squeezed past the Southampton goalkeeper.
The result lifts Liverpool to within a point of leaders Chelsea who host Manchester United tomorrow. Southampton are 14th, five points clear of the drop zone.
TALKING POINT – HAS THE GAP EVER BEEN BIGGER?
It is rare that the Premier League has three incredible teams at the top of their game at the same time, but while making for a thrilling title race, it also means so many games this year have been uncompetitive. If any of these top three sides face another Premier League side at home, you expect them to win by three goals, and often away too.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 27: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Andrew Robertson after scoring their side’s fourth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield on November 27, 2021 in Liverpool,
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This was as easy a 4-0 win as you will find and had Liverpool been chasing goal difference Southampton may have had a third consecutive season losing a game by nine goals, but Jurgen Klopp’s side have been just as dominant against Manchester United and Arsenal in recent matches. Chelsea are just as potent and tight at the back while Manchester City, if less destructive in front of goal, maybe demoralise opponents even more with how they dominate possession.
The creation of a European Super League was scuppered in the summer with the sanctity of domestic competition held up as the driving force for this. Realistically though, in nearly every match involving the big three, it is merely a competition on paper.
MAN OF THE MATCH – ANDY ROBERTSON (LIVERPOOL)
Such is Liverpool’s strength in depth that it didn’t feel Andy Robertson was missed during his recent absence, with them destroying teams and understudy Konstantinos Tsimikas far from a weak link. The addition of Robertson gives the Reds perfect attacking balance on the left hand side, with the Scottish full back and Mane every bit as dangerous as the magnificent right flank of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohammed Salah.
His early runs down the left flank resulted in the first goal and numerous other chances which effectively took away any confidence Southampton had of getting a result at Anfield. In the second half he put the ball on a plate for Jota to score a hat-trick.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 27: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool (L) and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool (R) celebrate with Andrew Robertson of Liverpool after his assist helped set up their 1st goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Southam
Image credit: Getty Images
Liverpool: Alisson 8; Alexander-Arnold 7, Konate 6, Van Dijk 7, Robertson 9*; Henderson 7, Fabinho 7, Thiago 7; Salah 6, Jota 8, Mane 7.
Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Milner 7, Minamino 6.
Southampton: McCarthy 5; Bednarek 5, Lyanco 7, Salisu 6; Livramento 6, Ward-Prowse 6, Romeu 6, Perraud 6; Broja 6, Adams 5, A.Armstrong 5.
Subs: Tello 7, Redmond 6, Walker-Peters 6.
2′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Mane plays Robertson in near the by-line in the left hand side of the penalty area and he finds Jota who puts Liverpool in front.
32′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Jota has a second. Salah was played in down the right hand side and after a one-two with Henderson just passes across the goal and Jota taps home.
37′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! This time it is Thiago driving into the box shimmying past Bendarek and then seeing his effort deflect off Lyago and into the net.
52′ GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! The corner is met on the half-volley by van Dijk eight yards out and though he does not make a great connnection it gets through the keeper for the Reds’ fourth.
74′ Jota could not get a better opportunity to score a hat-trick as Robertson put a perfect low cross behind the Southampton defence for him but sliding in he skewed his effort wide.