Liverpool have made history in winning their first seven games of the season for the first time, after strolling to a very comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton.
Liverpool 3-0 Southampton
Premier League, Anfield
September 22, 2018
Hoedt OG 10′ (assist – Shaqiri)
Matip 21′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Salah 45+3′ (assist – Shaqiri)
After the euphoria of a convincing 3-2 win over PSG in midweek, the Reds returned to domestic matters with the visit of Southampton on Saturday.
With a gruelling 90 minutes in the Champions League fresh in his mind, Jurgen Klopp made three changes to his starting lineup, as Joel Matip, Xherdan Shaqiri and Roberto Firmino came in.
This ensured a very attacking side from kickoff, against a Saints outfit far removed from those impressive squads of recent years.
Klopp called for a “European night” atmosphere from his players and the Anfield crowd, and roared on by the Kop, Liverpool produced another memorable win.
- Klopp makes three changes as Shaqiri makes full debut
- Hoedt own goal gives Reds opener after Shaqiri’s curled effort
- Matip powers home header to double lead on first start of season
- Salah taps in third of the game after stunning Shaqiri free-kick
- Van Dijk forced off injured in otherwise pedestrian second half
The introduction of Shaqiri saw Liverpool start the game in a new 4-2-3-1 formation, with the Swiss in the No. 10 role behind Mohamed Salah, and Firmino and Sadio Mane on the flanks.
And it was Shaqiri who was responsible for the Reds’ opener, picking up the ball from Mane after his corner, cutting inside in the penalty area and whipping in a shot which bounced around and eventually went in off Wesley Hoedt.
Mohamed Salah should have made it 2-0 on the 20-minute mark after a bright one-two with Firmino, but it didn’t matter, as the resulting corner saw Matip crash home a towering header.
Though Nathan Redmond posed a threat at the other end, the hosts remained in control throughout the first half, with Salah almost adding a third with a brilliant backheel.
It was Shaqiri who ultimately set up the Egyptian King’s well-deserved goal, with a brilliant free-kick from 30 yards cracking against the post for Salah to tap in and make it 3-0 at the break.
Depriving supporters of more excellence from Shaqiri, Klopp opted to withdraw his debutant at the interval, sending on James Milner in his place in a tactical change.
Liverpool’s second switch came within eight minutes, with Virgil van Dijk forced off with a rib injury and his regular centre-back partner taking his place to join Matip at the back.
Joe Gomez slotted in on the left-hand side and impressed with his front-footed approach, suggesting that were Van Dijk to miss any of the Reds’ upcoming games he could still hold his own.
The Reds took the opportunity to rest throughout a low-key second half, retaining their three-goal lead as Southampton opted for damage limitation.
Mane, Salah, Firmino, Milner and fellow substitute Naby Keita all continued to push into the final third whenever possible, however, with the home side inches short of a fourth on a number of occasions.
TIA Man of the Match: Xherdan Shaqiri
Referee: Paul Tierney
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk (Gomez 54′); Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum (Keita 70′); Mane, Shaqiri (Milner 46′), Firmino; Salah
Subs not used: Mignolet, Moreno, Fabinho, Sturridge
Southampton: McCarthy; Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Lemina, Romeu (Bednarek 54′); Redmond, Targett (Armstrong 54′), Long (Austin 78′)
Subs not used: Gunn, Yoshida, Davis, Ward-Prowse
Next Match: Chelsea (H) – League Cup – September 26, 7.45pm