Character in abundance, Sturridge & Origi sublime: 5 Talking Points from Southampton slaughter

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After Liverpool reached the semi-finals of the League Cup with a stunning 6-1 victory over Southampton, we pick five discussion points from the St Mary’s win.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 2, 2015: Liverpool's Alberto Moreno is mobbed by team-mates after scoring the third goal against Southampton during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds produced a master-class to come from behind and book their place in the semi-finals of the League Cup at St Mary’s.

Despite falling behind to Saido Mane’s header after just 40 seconds, a sublime brace from Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi’s first Reds goal fired Klopp’s men ahead at half time, with Liverpool showing brilliant character and determination to fight back.

The confidence filled Reds didn’t look back thereafter, with Origi adding his second and third goals of the night, either side of substitute, Jordon Ibe’s, superb slam to complete the dismantling of the Saints, in a controlled second period to progress to the last four.

It was a memorable night for Klopp’s side, who face Stoke in the next round, and here are the talking points from the thrashing.

 

Daniel Sturridge picks up from where he left off with dazzling display

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 2, 2015: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge scores the first equalising goal against Southampton during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was like he’d never been away, as Sturridge netted twice on a stunning first start under Klopp.

The 26-year-old took absolutely no time in rediscovering his spark, providing Liverpool with the genuine all-round top class striker, and lethal finisher, that Klopp’s side has been missing – elevating the Reds attack not only with goals, but with his touch, movement and awareness allowing moves to be built from his play.

His first goal, squaring up the helpless Steven Caulker before shifting onto his left foot to rifle into the bottom corner was sublime, only for the England man to match it with a fantastic first-time finish on the half volley from Emre Can’s outrageous outside-of-the-foot pass.

Displays like his St Mary’s showing only add to the frustration of his unreliable injury record, but what cannot be denied is his reliability when on the field of play that makes him an invaluable asset.

It was a simply stunning return from Sturridge, who everyone associated with the club will hope can now enjoy a sustained run of games.

 

Joe Allen hands Klopp reminder with superb performance

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 2, 2015: Liverpool's Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen in action against Southampton's Victor Wanyama during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Welsh midfielder was overlooked by Klopp against Swansea on Sunday, but Allen proved his worth with a brilliant midfield display.

Allen grew into the game after a slow start, providing a priceless play-making link between midfield and attack allowing the Reds to gain a foot-hold in the contest; typified with his outstanding pass into Sturridge that released the returning striker for his first of the night.

The Welshman was typically tenacious and clever in his positioning and pressing too, and his calming influence in midfield where he used the ball intelligently and decisively to keep Liverpool on the front foot once back in the game, was a real joy to watch.

No one divides opinion among Reds like Allen, but the fan base can certainly unite after an excellent performance from the Wales international.

 

Divock Origi sparks to life with perfect hat-trick

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 2, 2015: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Southampton during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s £10million Belgian made up for a spell out of involvement with a sublime hat-trick and brilliant performance at St Mary’s.

While Origi’s first goal was slightly fortunate – nicking a touch off from Alberto Moreno’s drive – the Belgian looked a different player after it, demonstrating his pace, power, strength, and finishing ability, that Reds fans will hope are now seen more regularly.

His second goal was certainly no fluke, a devastating finish after brilliantly arcing his run for the superb Jordon Ibe to find him, and his hat-trick header, from Brad Smith’s pin-point cross, was perfect centre forward play, arriving unmarked in the box.

Confidence boosting goals aside, Origi was intelligent in his work on and off the ball when alongside Sturridge and leading the line himself, clearly reaping the rewards of his work behind the scenes at Melwood.

It was brilliant to see the Belgian really take centre stage and show what he can hopefully offer in the future.

 

Klopp’s Reds show “character” in abundance

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 2, 2015: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Southampton with team-mates Martin Skrtel, Lucas Leiva, Jordon Ibe, Alberto Moreno and Dejan Lovren during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was a word that Reds fans become tired of hearing not long ago, but there is no better adjective to describe what Klopp has instilled in his squad.

Despite falling behind and being shell-shocked, Klopp’s men responded absolutely superbly, forcing their way back into the game with belief, calmness and composure their play, before then taking the Saints to the cleaners – like the Reds did of Chelsea in October.

It was the fourth time that the Reds have had to come back after conceding first in the first 45 minutes, and despite that, Liverpool have never once trailed at half-time – perfectly illustrating the character, resilience and determination Klopp has installed throughout the group, no matter what XI take to the field.

Setbacks are certain to come along the way and it won’t all be easy, but the Reds look perfectly prepared with the real and genuine character in the squad.

 

League Cup glory firmly in sight for Klopp

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 2, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match against Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Moving into the last four of the competition with a comprehensive victory at St Mary’s has left Klopp dreaming of securing a first title just months after taking charge.

The German revealed in his first press conference as Reds boss that he hoped to have won at least one trophy within four years of his Merseyside career, but after an excellent start at Anfield, he finds himself closing in on a maiden title that could come little over four months into his reign.

A winning habit simply must be restored as the club embarks on another journey to return to greatness, and the competition provides Klopp the chance to do just that.

It could prove to be a watershed moment and the platform for future success – Man City benefitted from winning the League Cup – going on to claim the title the same season – while Chelsea recorded the same feat a year later, with it part of a historic double.

With the way it could really progress Liverpool, Klopp must keep his eyes on the prize with a record ninth win title now firmly in sight.

Next up for the Reds is a trip to Newcastle where Klopp’s men look to continue their positive league form/make it a fifth straight win.

 

SOUTHAMPTON 1-6 LIVERPOOL

MATCH REPORT: Reds run riot in League Cup rout

PLAYER RATINGS: Man-of-the-match Origi leads the way

FAN REACTION: Reds “genuinely outstanding” in Saints smashing

PLAYER FOCUS: Divock Origi hat-trick shows patience is a virtue for Liverpool’s youngsters

TACTICAL OVERVIEW: 4-4-2 diamond shines in Southampton victory

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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