Liverpool secured a historic seventh win on the trot after a dominant first half display paved the way for a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton
Liverpool 3-0 Southampton
Premier League, Anfield
September 22, 2018
Goals: Hoedt OG 10’, Matip 21’, Salah 45+3′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
Alisson remained virtually untested once more at Anfield and looked to keep things interesting for himself with a few short-range passes when he could’ve looked for an option further afield.
The Brazilian stopper will no doubt be tested with more vigour in the weeks to come and that is when he will prove his credentials for the Reds.
The right-back started his sixth successive game for Liverpool and was reliable as ever as he helped keep yet another clean sheet in the Premier League at Anfield – a streak which extends back to February.
His delivery into the box has taken some time to reach the precision level required this season, but his corner ball for his defensive partners goal was second to none and again showcased his attacking threat.
Joel Matip – 8
It was a game full of surprises from Joel Matip. After only a handful of cameo appearances, he replaced the ever-impressive Joe Gomez in the starting lineup and made a notable impression from the off.
An expedition down the field as leader of a counter-attack early on almost led to a chance for Mohamed Salah to latch onto, where he also had a keen eye for a long-range pass – and his attacking impetus was duly rewarded with a first half goal.
A sloppy pass to Van Dijk aside and the defender was key in limiting Southampton to just one shot on target.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
The towering defender was all class against his former employers having failed to be unnerved or found wanting when the Saints found themselves in-behind Liverpool’s defence.
Van Dijk ensured Matip’s return to the side was without incident having found themselves paired together for the first time this season.
Having been forced from the action midway through the second 45 with what appeared to be a rib injury Liverpool will be desperate to find it is nothing serious with testing games to come over the next two weeks.
Andy Robertson – 7
Andy ‘Mr. Consistent’ Robertson proved to be a menace for the visitors on the left flank and again had many questioning if he is even capable of a less than par performance.
With little to do defensively he could have even landed himself a goal late on, only to lash his volleyed effort over the bar.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Wijnaludum continued his strong start to the season after putting in yet another solid display having navigated the game without trouble.
Moving out of the deep-lying role he effectively linked the defence with the attack and was the main source for recycling and retaining possession through the midfield.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Henderson followed up his display against Paris Saint-Germain with another starting appearance and again proved his worth to the team – ensuring Klopp’s midfield conundrum continues.
The skipper controlled the game from the middle of the park to great effect having been key in stopping Southampton at the source, and he was not afraid to drive the ball into the final third on occasion.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 8 (Man of the Match)
The Switzerland international was handed his first start for Liverpool following his summer move from Stoke – for just £12m might I add – and duly impressed having been handed a free reign within the attacking quartet.
And for Reds eagerly awaiting his impact needn’t wait long after proving to be the catalyst for both the first and third goal of the afternoon – where he made the most of the space which was readily available to him throughout.
He was unlucky not to etch his own name on the scoresheet with his free-kick clipping the crossbar, but it was a promising display which proved he already looks at home as part of the driving force within Liverpool’s attack.
Fans left Anfield already looking forward to seeing him in action against Chelsea on Wednesday, with Klopp confirming post-match that the change was tactical and not due to injury.
Mohamed Salah – 7.5
It’s slowly clicking for Salah. With Jurgen Klopp changing the system to 4-2-3-1 in the first half, he was the man to lead Liverpool’s attack on this occasion and he made all the right moves and occupied all the right spaces.
Attention had been focused on his ‘lack’ of goals so far and it was just rewards for the Egyptian to see his name on the scoresheet after following in Shaqiri’s free-kick effort – and the relief was evident.
The goal could prove to be a timely catalyst for Liverpool and relinquish the pressure which Salah had placed on himself following his scintillating return last season.
Sadio Mane – 6.5
The speedster had a relatively quiet game in comparison to his previous outings this term, but again showed his worth with a perfectly weighted through-ball to slice through the Southampton defence for Liverpool’s opener.
Mane did not need to get out of second gear and will could now be likely to be handed a deserved break during the League Cup clash against Chelsea.
Roberto Firmino – 7
To accommodate Salah the Brazilian shifted to the left flank in the opening term but remained his effervescent self, causing Southampton trouble across the park with his movement before shifting back to his regular position in the second half.
The flexibility he provides ensures the plethora of attacking options Liverpool have at their disposal can be used in tandem.
His interplay with Salah was the standout feature of his game, as was his ability to both retain and win back possession.
Starting XI Average Rating: 7
James Milner (on for Shaqiri, 45′) – 6.5
Used as a tactical substitution to offer more control in midfield and Milner picked up from where he left off in midweek, failing to put a foot wrong in what was half which lacked any pressure from the visitors.
Joe Gomez (on for Van Dijk, 54′) – 7
Failed to miss a beat after being thrown into the action, continuing the fine form which has all but cemented his place as a member of the first choice centre-back pairing for the Reds.
Naby Keita (on for Wijnaldum, 70′) – 6
Was solid during his short cameo but the second half lacked the intensity needed for him to make a meaningful impact.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Moreno, Fabinho, Sturridge
Jurgen Klopp – 9
This was the game which could have easily seen a drop in impetus from Liverpool having been sandwiched in-between games against PSG and Chelsea, with Man City also on the horizon.
However, Klopp injected fresh legs into the lineup and altered his formation for the opening term, and it paid off having seen his side net three unanswered goals to set up a comfortable afternoon.
Again, the Reds were not required to come out of second gear and with seven wins in a row – six in the Premier League – there remains very little to criticise as the side continues to march to the beat of their very own, impressive, drum.