Saints suffer heavy defeat

By SFC Media Sat 22 Sep Liverpool v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson
Sat 22 Sep 3PM
Premier League
Liverpool
3
Southampton
0
Hoedt (og) [10'] Matip [21'] Salah [45+3']
Romeu (34') Lemina (56')
Referee: Paul Tierney | Venue: Anfield | Attendance: 50,965

Southampton suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Premier League leaders Liverpool, as they were beaten 3-0 at Anfield.

The entirety of the damage was done in the first half, with Joel Matip and Mohamed Salah adding their names to the scoresheet after Wesley Hoedt's early own goal had put the Reds on course for a comfortable success.

Defeat ended a positive run of three games unbeaten for Mark Hughes's side, who must now look to bounce back when they go on the road again next Saturday, away to Wolves.

Hughes made two changes from the side that drew with Brighton last Monday, both of which were enforced, with Danny Ings ineligible to play against his parent club.

The other absentee was Mohamed Elyounoussi, who also dropped out of the squad after picking up an injury late in the week, as Oriol Romeu and Matt Targett were both brought into the side.

There was an early warning of the trouble Liverpool could cause, as Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross from the right found Roberto Firmino, who had eluded Cédric in the middle, but he only managed the slightest of glances on the ball.

Saints weren’t without their own threat in the opening stages, though, as Matt Targett’s low cross from the left nearly found Shane Long at the near post, only for ex-Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk to get in first and divert it behind.

It was an important intervention for the hosts, as they went up the other end and grabbed a tenth-minute lead.

Another former Saint, Sadio Mané, slipped a pass down the left to Shaqiri. He cut inside and sent in a shot that hit Long, which subsequently caused the ball to spin across the face of goal, where the unfortunate Hoedt couldn’t get out of the way, inadvertently deflecting it goalwards and seeing it cross the line before Alex McCarthy could get to it.

Hughes’s side did issue a response shortly afterwards, as Targett’s driven corner found Jannik Vestergaard, but his header went wide of the near post.

Nathan Redmond then felt he had a shout for a penalty, claiming he was clipped by Firmino in the 18th minute as he went to cross from inside the area, but referee Paul Tierney wasn’t interested.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg on the ball in the first half

Liverpool went back on the offensive, and looked all set to net a second as Salah played a superb one-two with Firmino to go clear, but Cédric’s brilliant sliding tackle denied him a certain goal, as he forced the ball just wide of the post.

It mattered little, though, as Liverpool scored from the 21st-minute corner.

Trent Alexander-Arnold sent in an out-swinging delivery, and Matip rose unchecked to plant a fine header into the corner.

Saints could have pulled one back two minutes before half-time, as Ryan Bertrand got free down the left and cut a cross back to Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in space, but he couldn’t make clean contact with his left foot and the chance went begging.

The hosts immediately broke from that opportunity, with Salah getting in behind, although he had to spin under a challenge from Vestergaard and ended up sending an audacious back-heel just wide of the far post.

The Egyptian did get his goal with the final action of the first half, though, and it was as simple a finish as he will ever get.

Shaqiri took aim from a free-kick 25 yards out and bent a superb effort that beat McCarthy and hit the underside of the crossbar, with Salah following up to poke in from a yard out, as Liverpool took a 3-0 lead in at the break.

Cédric looks on at Anfield

The Reds made one change at the interval, as James Milner was brought on in place of Shaqiri, while they were forced into a second change not long into the second half, as van Dijk went off injured and Joe Gomez was sent on.

Saints themselves made a pair of changes in the 55th minute, as Romeu and Targett went off, with Jan Bednarek and Stuart Armstrong being introduced.

Little else of note happened as the game reached its final 20 minutes, when Liverpool made another substitution, as Jürgen Klopp sent on Naby Keita in place of Georginio Wijnaldum.

Saints’ final change then came 12 minutes from time, as Charlie Austin replaced Long.

McCarthy had to be alert seconds after to prevent Salah adding another, as Liverpool’s talisman broke away down the right and charged on goal, with Saints’ keeper able to slide out and grab the ball just before he got to it.

With five minutes remaining, Liverpool again went close to a fourth, as a loose ball dropped to Andrew Robertson in the area, but his left-foot volley flew a couple of yards over.

Liverpool did get the ball in the net with less than two minutes left on the clock, but Salah was flagged for offside after firing home following a scramble in the box.

It mattered little for the hosts, though, who had long since secured the points.

Liverpool

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    61
    39
  • Shots
    12
    7
  • Shots on target
    4
    1
  • Corners
    5
    4
  • Passes Complete
    648
    388

Liverpool

13
Alisson (GK)
32
Joel Matip
4
Virgil van Dijk
Joseph Gomez (55′)
26
Andrew Robertson
66
Trent Alexander-Arnold
14
Jordan Henderson (C)
9
Roberto Firmino
10
Sadio Mané
23
Xherdan Shaqiri
James Milner (45′)
5
Georginio Wijnaldum
Naby Keita (70′)
11
Mohamed Salah
22
Simon Mignolet
7
James Milner
18
Alberto Moreno
8
Naby Keita
12
Joseph Gomez
15
Daniel Sturridge
3
Fabinho

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
4
Jannik Vestergaard
2
Cédric Soares
6
Wesley Hoedt
21
Ryan Bertrand (C)
22
Nathan Redmond
14
Oriol Romeu
Jan Bednarek (55′)
18
Mario Lemina
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
33
Matt Targett
Stuart Armstrong (55′)
7
Shane Long
Charlie Austin (79′)
8
Steven Davis
10
Charlie Austin
17
Stuart Armstrong
3
Maya Yoshida
28
Angus Gunn
35
Jan Bednarek
16
James Ward-Prowse
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