Liverpool closed the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea as they cruised to a 4-0 win over a disjointed Southampton side at Anfield.
The hosts made a fast start and Diogo Jota set Jurgen Klopp’s side on their way inside 90 seconds as he turned Andy Robertson’s cut-back into the net.
Jota doubled Liverpool’s lead when he finished off Mohamed Salah’s cross at the back post before Thiago’s deflected strike put Liverpool three up before half-time.
Virgil van Dijk scored against his former team to add a fourth from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner as the Reds moved to within a point of Chelsea in the Premier League table.
Here are how the players rated:
Despite Liverpool’s dominance of the first half, the Brazilian was still forced into making two important stops as he first denied an on-rushing Armando Broja before diving to stop Adam Armstrong’s shot down to his right.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6
Liverpool did not need Alexander-Arnold to be at his influential best to be able to cut Southampton open at will, but the right back still ended up with an assist as he plonked the ball on the penalty spot for Van Dijk to thrash into the net. He also set the attack for Liverpool’s second in motion as he stole the ball from Romain Perraud. A loose throw-in set up a chance for Broja to score but he was relieved to see Alisson make the stop.
Ibrahima Konate, 6
Was beaten to the ball on a couple of occasions by the nippy pair of Armstrong and Broja. Often recovered well and although this was not a poor display by any means, it will be no surprise to see Joel Matip start in his place against Everton on Wednesday.
Virgil van Dijk, 8
Even though Southampton did have their moments, they all tended to come away from Van Dijk, given how supreme the Dutchman was whenever he was called into defensive action. One of those matches where he seemed to cruise through the 90 minutes, and added a goal to his display as he thrashed in Liverpool’s fourth against his former side, to muted celebrations.
Andy Robertson, 8
Made a fine start to his return to the team as he set up Jota’s opener with a trademark cut-back from the left by-line, and the Scotland captain was soon back to his rampaging best. Although he was slightly caught out by the Southampton wing-back Tino Livramento on occasions, he threatened with a couple of clever passes down the sides to Mane and Jota. His best delivery of the match should have resulted in Jota’s hat-trick, but the forward sliced wide following a sumptuous cross from the left.
Strolled around the pitch in a commanding defensive display at the base of Liverpool’s midfield. Won several tackles, while the pick of his play was a smart interception/turn on the halfway line.
Jordan Henderson, 7
The Liverpool captain is so effective in the inside-right channel, particularly with Fabinho in behind. Made a lovely ‘second assist’ with his slipped ball through to Salah, which instructed him to slide it across to Jota for Liverpool’s second goal.
Thiago Alcantara, 6
Brought Anfield to its feet with his second magical moment of the week, following his stunner against Porto in the Champions League. Curiously though, Thiago was uncharacteristically sloppy throughout the match and often struggled to deal with the Southampton press. This included early on when he was too casual and was caught on the ball by James Ward-Prowse on the edge of his box, only to be bailed out by Alisson. The lovely shimmy and strike for his goal made amends for that, though.
Sadio Mane, 7
His passing was sensational and frequently cut Southampton open at times, particularly with his ball inside to Robertson in the move for Liverpool’s opener. Had a first-half header disallowed for the narrowest of offsides and while he didn’t end up on the scoresheet, the Senegal international was a constant threat.
Diogo Jota, 8
A true strikers performance from the Portuguese, who continued his fine goalscoring form for Liverpool in the absence of Roberto Firmino. His attacking instincts were sharp this afternoon and he came alive in the box to finish off his two chances, both of which came from around six yards. Jota’s build-up play outside of the box was fluid, too, and he linked up well with Mane and Salah. Had a chance to complete his hat-trick but he could not steer Robertson’s cross on target.
Mohamed Salah, 7
The only surprise of the afternoon was that he didn’t end up on the scoresheet, but Salah was again sharp and pivotal to another flowing Liverpool display. Set up Jota’s second with his drilled ball across the face, moments after he curled inches wide after setting the ball towards the far post. Actually spurned a glorious to add a fourth before half-time when Liverpool were presented with a three-on-one following a Saints corner, but he dallied on the ball and lost possession.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 7
James Milner, 6
Takumi Minamino, N/A
Alex McCarthy, 4
Made a good save to deny Mane’s curling effort early in the second half, in what was his first save of the match, only to see Van Dijk’s strike go through him from the resulting corner.
Jan Bednarek, 3
Beaten too easily by Thiago’s shimmy on the edge of the box and was part of a horrendous defensive display from the Saints.
Made a horror start to his Premier League debut as he slipped under a bouncing ball inside 90 seconds, eventually leading to Jota’s opener. His misery was compounded when Thiago’s strike ricocheted off him and past McCarthy.
Mohammed Salisu, 4
As far as one-v-one battles with Salah have gone this season, his effort to mark the Egyptian wasn’t bad. Made an important clearing header to block Salah’s shot as he looked to bend the ball into the far corner.
Tino Livramento, 4
Much of Liverpool’s attacking play came down his side, and he was overwhelmed at times by the combination of Mane and Robertson. Had little opportunity to attack himself.
James Ward-Prowse, 5
Pushed Thiago high up the pitch, causing some problems, but it also left considerable gaps at the other end.
Oriel Romeu, 3
Ineffective in midfield as Liverpool were able to slice Southampton open at ease. His attempt to mark Van Dijk for Liverpool’s fourth was abysmal.
Romain Perraud, 3
Like Livramento on the opposite side, was overran by the combination of Salah, Henderson and Alexander-Arnold on his flank.
Armando Broja, 5
Was bright and busy with his runs in behind, but he needed to do better to punish Alexander-Arnold’s loose throw. Instead he was denied by Alisson in front of the Kop.
Che Adams, 3
Looked lost as the false nine in Southampton’s disastrous first-half system. Was removed at the break when the plan was abandoned.
Adam Armstrong, 4
Similarly to Broja, caused Liverpool a couple of issues with his pace in the channels. Forced Alisson into a good stop.
Nathan Redmond, 5
Nathan Tella, 5