Liverpool claimed a vital three points against Southampton with a 2-0 victory at St Mary’s, which included some impressive individual performances.
Southampton 0-2 Liverpool
Premier League, St Mary’s
February 11, 2018
Goals: Firmino 6′, Salah 42’
Loris Karius – 8 (out of 10)
The German is enjoying the best run of form of his Anfield career and he was a key reason why the Reds returned home with three points.
Played a key role in Roberto Firmino’s opener as he initially launched the counter with an excellent quick throw, and then made two superb saves which crucially ensured the Reds stayed ahead at 1-0.
Was alert to danger and decisive coming off his line to sweep up. One iffy punch but that doesn’t take anything away from a really impressive display.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.5
Young Trent shone against Tottenham last time out and carried that form into this game as he produced another impressive performance.
Provided a useful wide outlet supporting attack when needed but, most importantly, was secure defensively all afternoon.
His use of the ball was particularly impressive as he continually showed crisp passing to pick out some slick forward passes. Another good outing for the teenager.
Joel Matip – 6
Replaced Dejan Lovren at the heart of defence for his 50th Premier League appearance for the Reds.
Produced a very unconvincing first half, hesitating with one flighted ball in as well as horribly slicing a clearance into touch.
Improved after the break with a more simplified display, sweeping up well a couple of times, but didn’t take the opportunity to prove why he should be Virgil van Dijk’s main partner ahead of Lovren.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
All eyes were on the Dutchman on his first St Mary’s return, and under intense pressure and scrutiny, the £75 million man rose to the occasion to produce a faultless display.
Looked supremely confident from the moment he stepped onto the pitch, and though it wasn’t his most challenging afternoon, he certainly was as he did everything with minimum of fuss.
Dominated in the air winning everything that came near him, and was clinical with decision-making while showing composure and organisation to lead the back line and those in front of him.
Showed the bitter home fans exactly what they’ve lost.
Andy Robertson – 7
Another solid performance from Liverpool’s Mr. Reliable, who started sloppily but improved in leaps and bounds as the game went on.
Conceded a sloppy corner early on and was missing at the back post on a couple of crosses to give away some free headers at goal—though wasn’t helped by a lack of defensive help from Sadio Mane.
Steadied himself well thereafter and was particularly promising going forward after the break. Should have had an assist to his name but no one could convert his great ball across the face of the goal.
Emre Can – 7
Captain for the day and did a decent job in providing a composed and commanding figure in the middle of the park.
Provided some much-needed composure by using the ball sensibly to get his team-mates playing, while also offering plenty of encouragement to those around him to play with confidence.
Not the most influential or impactful display, but a decent showing nonetheless.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7
Normally you don’t see Wijnaldum in away games but this made for a nice change as he was more involved on his return to the starting team on the south coast.
Produced some tidy bits of play including a nice ball to Sadio Mane who should have done better with his finish, and picked up second balls well to regain possession.
Not a spectacular performance but a hardworking one, and crucially an improvement on recent away showings.
Restored to the lineup at the venue his career started but didn’t enjoy his best afternoon against his former club.
Played a role in the first goal providing the searching pass to release Mohamed Salah, but struggled to influence proceedings and was at times caught in no-man’s land as Saints came on strong in the first half.
Off on the hour mark for James Milner, which at least keeps him fresh for Wednesday’s Champions League tie.
Sadio Mane – 6.5
Mane has been enduring the roughest spell of his Reds career to date, but he showed signs of improvement on return to his former club.
His touch was still erratic and he lacked quality at key moments, but he was also more positive in his play and could have got on the scoresheet with some better finishing.
A couple of powerful second-half runs were pleasing to see, so hopefully we see the upturn in form continue.
Mohamed Salah – 8.5
This man never fails to amaze. One part of the two-man show which ultimately did the damage and earned a very important victory.
Delivered a superb reverse pass for Firmino to open the scoring and then converted himself after again linking brilliantly with a stunning one-two exchange with the Brazilian.
Should have added another two for a hat-trick in the second half but lashed over and into the side-netting.
Never fails to provide a constant goalscoring threat at any moment, and his game-changing influence is something which gives the Reds a brilliant unpredictability.
Roberto Firmino – 8.5 (Man of the Match)
Another fantastic day at the office for Firmino who led by example and carried the Reds to victory with a match-winning display.
Announced himself as the 20-goal-a-season striker critics are forever banging on about with an underrated finish, superbly picking out the bottom corner with his left foot.
Linked superbly with Salah throughout and provided what is undoubtedly the assist of the season with an outrageous backheel for the Egyptian’s goal which made it 2-0.
Worked typically tirelessly even though things didn’t go his way at times, ensuring that didn’t stop him making the crucial difference.
Starting XI Average Rating: 7.31
James Milner (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 60′) – 6 –
Provided a better in-game tactical change than in the Anfield win over Man City, with his presence helping to steady the Reds.
Slotted into the action straight away providing a busy presence, and used the ball sensibly for the final half-hour.
Adam Lallana (on for Firmino, 79′) – 6 –
Slotted into the right of midfield as Liverpool saw the game out and came close to adding a third.
Dejan Lovren (on for Salah, 89′) – N/A –
On to make it a five-man defence for the final moments to rub in the victory.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Moreno, Ings, Solanke
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Picked a good starting team, boasting plenty of energy, which worked instantly and inspired a quick start in which the Reds took the lead.
Could be disappointed by the drop-off after going ahead early, but arguably set the team up well to control the game with this not a typically gung-ho display.
Can take a big positive from the way his side delivered a professional second-half performance, though perhaps not with the wastefulness in killing the game once and for all.
Good tactical change to introduce Milner for Oxlade-Chamberlain which helped provide some security and control as the Saints pushed for a way back.
It was crucial to capitalise on Man United’s earlier defeat and Klopp will be delighted to have done that to sling the race for second place wide open.