Post by Football News on Nov 18, 2017 18:04:20 GMT
Liverpool 3 - 0 Southampton
Mohamed Salah hits double to help Liverpool cruise past Southampton
Home team scorers Mohamed Salah 31 Mohamed Salah 41 Philippe Coutinho 68
Mohamed Salah has become known as “The King of Egypt” around Melwood since his penalty heroics took the country to its first World Cup since 1990. He has quickly established a regal presence at club level, too. The £36.9m summer signing swept Liverpool to a fourth straight win in all competitions as he became the Premier League’s leading goalscorer with a double against Southampton. And to think his finishing has previously been open to question.
Salah followed up his two goals against West Ham United before the international break with two more against Mauricio Pellegrino’s outclassed team. The former Roma and Chelsea winger now has 14 goals in total for the season and has set a Premier League record for Liverpool with nine in 12 league appearances for his new club. He departed to a richly deserved standing ovation in the 80th minute, and into an inevitable embrace from Jürgen Klopp, as Liverpool moved to within a point of Tottenham Hotspur in fourth.
Philippe Coutinho provided the final flourish as Klopp celebrated his first Premier League win over Southampton at the fifth attempt. For once Liverpool emerged unscathed from an international break in terms of injuries, with Sadio Mané deemed fit to start against his former club after a hamstring scare, and they required just half an hour to rediscover the cutting edge that did for Slaven Bilic at West Ham before the interruption. Southampton were not set up merely to absorb pressure at Anfield like so many visitors before them. They were simply made to look that way, as Klopp’s side dominated possession and gradually weakened a previously resilient Southampton defence with their distribution and movement.
That said, the manner of Liverpool’s breakthrough was galling for a manager of Pellegrino’s defensive pedigree. The home side created few clear openings in the first third of the contest and found Fraser Forster in their way when they did get behind the visiting defence. Forster fumbled an attempt by the commanding Trent Alexander-Arnold and parried from Georginio Wijnaldum as Liverpool made a patient start, but had not been seriously extended when Dusan Tadic committed a cardinal sin on the edge of his own penalty area.
The Serbia winger was in space and had the opportunity to stretch Liverpool when Virgil van Dijk, Klopp’s primary defensive transfer target of the summer, headed a Jordan Henderson corner into his path. Instead, he opted to run across his area where three Liverpool players were lurking, with predictable results. Roberto Firmino dispossessed Tadic and Wijnaldum picked out Salah on the right, who swept a stunning, angled finish beyond Forster from 20 yards. A gift brilliantly accepted.
Salah’s strike took him level at the top of the Premier League goalscoring chart. Ten minutes later he was out in front courtesy of a truly outstanding ball from Philippe Coutinho. There appeared little on for the Brazilian when he received Henderson’s square pass 30 yards from the Southampton goal but he spotted Salah’s run behind Wesley Hoedt and slipped the ball into his stride perfectly. Salah turned a first-time shot past Forster with Southampton defenders appealing more in hope than belief for an offside decision.
Southampton did not force Simon Mignolet into a save in the first half, though Ryan Bertrand went close with a free-kick from 25 yards. T prospects of a fightback were hindered not only by Liverpool’s command of the ball but by fine defensive displays by Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren. The Southampton old boy was inevitably jeered by the travelling supporters but seemed inspired by the presence of Van Dijk in the opposition ranks. It was, and may prove to be, Lovren with most to lose by Liverpool’s interest in the Dutch international and he performed as though affronted by his club’s thwarted transfer pursuit.
The Croat clattered into Van Dijk to earn the game’s first booking and was integral to stifling Southampton’s brief and ineffective attempt at a second-half recovery. Sofiane Boufal squandered two half-chances for the visitors before Liverpool’s authority returned. Salah almost created a third for Alberto Moreno with a penetrating run from deep but his through ball got caught underneath the rampaging left back. The pass that eventually delivered Liverpool’s third was, like Coutinho’s earlier in the game, an inspirational touch. Mané removed two defenders from the equation with a brilliant reverse ball into the unmarked Firmino. His shot cannoned off the chest of Forster and into the path of Coutinho who steered home from 12 yards.