Slick Liverpool see off Saints

By SFC Media Sun 11 Feb Saints v Liverpool
Photo by Matt Watson | Wesley Hoedt
Sun 11 Feb 4.30PM
Premier League
Southampton
0
Liverpool
2
Firmino [6'] Salah [42']
Romeu (62')
Matip (37') Can (47')
Referee: Martin Atkinson | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,915

Southampton’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of a clinical Liverpool side at St Mary’s.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring inside six minutes to lay the foundations for a difficult afternoon for the hosts.

Saints responded well and created chances in the first half, only to fall two behind shortly before the interval as Mo Salah dispatched a delicious backheel from Firmino.

Saints kept plugging away, but the damage had been done and the visitors saw out the second period to leave Mauricio Pellegrino’s men back in the relegation zone.

Pellegrino made one change to his side following the 3-2 win at West Brom last time out, with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg preferred to Sofiane Boufal to add extra bite to the Saints midfield.

The home team suffered an early scare when Wesley Hoedt was dispossessed by Firmino, who claimed a foul as the Dutchman eased the Brazilian aside in making amends.

But Liverpool were not prepared to wait much longer and scored from their very next attack.

Breaking at pace, former Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fed Salah down the right flank, whose clever square pass prised open the home defence and allowed Firmino to take the ball in his stride with a confident side-footed finish.

Guido Carrillo threatened an equaliser with this first-half header

The Southampton response was encouraging. Jack Stephens tried extending his recent goal a game average, optimistically shooting wide from distance, before Cédric forced a first save from Loris Karius.

Oriol Romeu picked out the marauding right-back with a perfect diagonal pass over the head of Andrew Robertson, but the Liverpool keeper was sharp off his line to shut down the angles by the time Cédric took a touch and found his route to goal blocked.

Guido Carrillo, making his first St Mary’s start, had been starved of service until James Ward-Prowse received the ball in space wide on the right and delivered a peach of a cross attacked with purpose by the big striker, who sent Karius stooping to make another important stop.

Karius was busy again when the in-form Ward-Prowse rose at the far post, but again the header was just too close to the German, who this time helped it on its way over with his fingertips.

Meanwhile, another familiar face in the Liverpool ranks was threatening, as Sadio Mané fired wide from 25 yards before getting in front of Cédric and poking the ball beyond the advancing Alex McCarthy but wide of his right-hand post.

Saints were playing well, but soon after Ward-Prowse sent another header rather tamely into the grasp of Karius, they found themselves with a mountain to climb thanks to a goal of real class.

Mané bided his time in waiting for Joel Matip to step out of defence. Then Matip found the feet of Salah with his back to goal, Liverpool flicked a switch and sped away.

Salah instantly fed Firmino, whose backheel to return the favour for the first goal was perfect for the Egyptian to dispatch goal number 29 of the season in the blink of an eye.

Mo Salah struck Liverpool's second goal three minutes before the break

It was imperative Saints scored the next goal in the game. Pellegrino wasted little time before introducing Boufal for Mario Lemina early in the second half, but chances were proving hard to come by.

Hoedt timed his run well to get across the near post and meet a wicked free kick from Ward-Prowse, but could not direct his attempt on target.

Liverpool’s recent history would suggest a 2-0 lead is by no means a guarantee for three points, so Jürgen Klopp was less than impressed when Salah steered his shot into the side-netting after McCarthy’s outstretched foot kept Firmino at bay.

Next to enter the fray was Shane Long, handed 20 minutes to make an impact in place of Ward-Prowse as Pellegrino switched to a two-man strike force, while Steven Davis was also introduced late on.

But Karius, kept honest for so much of the first half, was busier with his feet than his hands in the second as Liverpool kept possession for sustained periods and chalked up a clean sheet in cementing their place in the top four with 11 games to go.

Today's Match Sponsor:  Virgin Media
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Liverpool
  • Possession (%)
    52
    48
  • Shots
    6
    16
  • Shots on target
    4
    4
  • Corners
    3
    1
  • Passes Complete
    427
    399

Southampton

13
Alex McCarthy (GK)
2
Cédric Soares
5
Jack Stephens
6
Wesley Hoedt
21
Ryan Bertrand (C)
11
Dusan Tadic
14
Oriol Romeu
Steven Davis (80′)
16
James Ward-Prowse
Shane Long (71′)
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
18
Mario Lemina
Sofiane Boufal (57′)
9
Guido Carrillo
44
Fraser Forster
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
3
Maya Yoshida
22
Nathan Redmond
19
Sofiane Boufal
8
Steven Davis
7
Shane Long

Liverpool

1
Loris Karius (GK)
26
Andrew Robertson
66
Trent Alexander-Arnold
32
Joel Matip
4
Virgil van Dijk
23
Emre Can (C)
5
Georginio Wijnaldum
21
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
James Milner (60′)
11
Mohamed Salah
Dejan Lovren (89′)
9
Roberto Firmino
Adam Lallana (79′)
19
Sadio Mané
7
James Milner
29
Dominic Solanke
6
Dejan Lovren
20
Adam Lallana
22
Simon Mignolet
28
Danny Ings
18
Alberto Moreno
Cédric: Every game is a final now
Saints v Liverpool

Cédric: Every game is a final now

Defender calls on Saints' experienced players to take responsibility.

Mon 12 Feb
90 in 90: Saints 0-2 Liverpool Highlights: Saints 0-2 Liverpool
U23 Preview: Newcastle vs Saints
Newcastle v Saints

U23 Preview: Newcastle vs Saints

Watch our preview ahead of the PL2 clash.

40 mins ago
Jaïdi previews Newcastle trip Predict the Score - Burnley vs Saints