A controlled Liverpool had the measure of Southampton in the final game before the World Cup break, with a number of contenders for the man of the match in a 3-1 win.
Liverpool 3-1 Southampton
Premier League (14), Anfield
November 12, 2022
Goals: Firmino 6′, Nunez 21′, 42′; Adams 9′
Alisson – 10 (out of 10) (Man of the Match)
Our No. 1, minus his trademark beard, was largely a spectator for much of the game, but it’s only a testament to his quality that when he is required, he’s more than up for the task.
A strong left hand and a body save in quick succession made sure there wasn’t to be a wobble midway through the second half, which he then followed up with a save low to his right. World-class.
Could he be a World Cup winner when we next see him in a Liverpool shirt?
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
A solid yet not spectacular outing for Trent, but it didn’t really need to be anything more than that for the right-back – he did his job and did it well.
We saw flashes of his quality on the ball threatening to split the game open.
He’s now in Gareth Southgate’s hands, let’s hope England realise the generational talent they have on their hands.
Joe Gomez – 7
With Ibrahima Konate carrying a knock, Gomez was the only player retained from midweek, and the added responsibility from that match translated to this one.
Composed and on the front foot, allowing his side to maintain dominance over the visitors.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
One of the players to lose Che Adams on the free-kick, reacting too late to influence the contest but otherwise was his steady himself in the centre of defence.
Could’ve had a goal himself and while slow to react against Adams, made a game-high seven interceptions.
Andy Robertson – 8
The Scot took another significant step in his assist competition with Trent, adding two to his tally thanks to both the dead ball and his trademark run down the left flank.
Energetic and in sync with Nunez, Robertson has been a clear benefactor from Kostas Tsimikas acting as his deputy, an example that needs to be followed beyond just left-back.
It’s also worth noting he is now joint-top for assists by a defender in the Premier League with 53.
Fabinho – 8
A player that has readily been under the microscope, but here there was no sign of the thick mud he’s been treading through recently.
Having only won two tackles in his last nine appearances, Fabinho had two in the first half alone and was dialled in from the start – Liverpool will want more of that on his return.
At the end of the 90, he had four successful tackles to his name.
Harvey Elliott – 8
In his 14th start of the season came his first assist of the campaign, in what was a standout performance from the 19-year-old.
Bright, forward-thinking and quick to help cover the right flank, Elliott continues to play with maturity beyond his age and was more than worthy of his standing ovation after being withdrawn.
Thiago – 8
The key distributor and interceptor, giving the Reds the control they’ve not always had the pleasure of experiencing throughout the season.
It was a tidy day’s work for Thiago, with a 92.7 pass accuracy as he helped make sure the victory was as routine as possible – which made for a nice change of pace for fans and players alike.
Spain’s loss is truly Liverpool’s gain.
Mohamed Salah – 7
It was not quite Salah’s day, he had his moments but that missing one percent was just enough to be the difference between him etching his name on the scoresheet or grabbing an assist.
Still heavily involved but after five goals in his last four games, it was just a case of him sharing the love, wasn’t it?
Darwin Nunez – 9
We’re continuing to see the growing chemistry and understanding Nunez has found with his fellow forwards, which certainly bodes well for the restart post-World Cup.
On the left wing, as he was at Spurs, his range of passing – long, short and a back-heel to boot – was on show, as too his first-time finishing for both goals.
A menace for the opposition, Nunez was consistently alive to the ball, a real delight to watch – and he’s only going to get better.
Roberto Firmino – 9
After the disappointment of being snubbed by Brazil, Bobby wasted little time in showing what they may be missing with a well-timed header into the back post for his ninth goal of the season.
He’s only two off his entire tally from last season (11).
May have been at fault for the free-kick for Southampton‘s goal, but a minor blip on an otherwise standout performance. Readily involved, consistently offered a passing option and was clean with it too.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Firmino, 75′) – 6 – A steady return and valuable minutes before what is an important training block for him.
Fabio Carvalho (on for Nunez, 86′) – N/A – Bonus minutes as he too faces a valuable few weeks ahead.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, 86′) – N/A – There for some late defending but not enough time to make any lasting impact.
Nat Phillips (on for Alexander-Arnold, 86′) – N/A – Barely saw the ball but was accurate with each of his three passes.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, Bajcetic, Doak
Jurgen Klopp – 8
The manager may have had to swap the dugout for a seat in the director’s box and the touchline for an earpiece after late news of his FA charge being upgraded to a touchline ban, but he will have enjoyed the birdseye view.
This match was a must-win for Liverpool with a six-week break now ahead of us, thanks to a poorly-timed World Cup, and it means there is momentum on their return after four wins in a row.
It is the longest streak the Reds have managed so far this season and they will need to extend that on their return across all four competitions.
With only seven players headed to Qatar, Klopp will see the majority of his senior players enjoy a break before taking them to Dubai for a mini ‘pre-season’, putting them in an enviable position.
Liverpool have steadied the ship and now we wait five-and-a-half weeks to see them again, let’s hope it flies by.