Southampton v Liverpool – story of the match
Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah assisted each other’s goals as Liverpool were comfortable winners
Liverpool climbed back up to third in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory at Southampton that left Mauricio Pellegrino under renewed pressure and his team at increasing risk of relegation.
The home supporters again turned on their manager after their latest defeat, secured by goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, left them in 18th place and took their visitors back above Tottenham.
It also ensured a victorious return to St Mary’s for Virgil van Dijk, the £75million defender who left for Liverpool at the end of December and who so many believe disrupted and undermined Southampton’s disappointing season.
Tweet of the match
Firmino & Salah - not your average one-two. #SOULIV— Jim Beglin (@jimbeglin) February 11, 2018
Star man – Roberto Firmino
The Brazilian played a major role in Liverpool’s success, showing composure to slot them into an early lead before assisting the second with splendid back-heel into the path of Mohamed Salah. He also created a number of other openings, most notably an excellent pass which saw Sadio Mane rattle the side-netting. Perhaps with one eye on the midweek Champions League clash with Porto, Jurgen Klopp brought him off for a well-earned rest with 11 minutes remaining.
Moment of the match
Liverpool had to deal with a fair amount of pressure following their early opener but they made things more comfortable by doubling their lead in fine style just before the break. Top-scorer Salah played the ball to Firmino and then received the ball back courtesy of a delightful flick from the Brazilian before calmly stroking the ball past Alex McCarthy for this 29th goal of the season in all competitions.
Mohamed Salah has now been directly involved in 29 Premier League goals this season, the most by a Liverpool player in the competition during their first season with the club. The Egypt forward assisted Firmino’s opener and added the second to take his tally to 22 goals and seven assists.
View from the bench
After seeing relegation rivals Swansea, Newcastle and Huddersfield all pick up three points this weekend to consign his side to the bottom three, Mauricio Pellegrino would have been desperate for an immediate response. However they were punished early on and struggled to respond in the second half after falling further behind. Reds boss Klopp, by contrast, will be delighted to take advantage of slip ups from top-four rivals Manchester United and Arsenal as the Reds moved to third.
Southampton: Alex McCarthy (out of 10) 6, Cedric Soares 5, Jack Stephens 6, Wesley Hoedt 5, Ryan Bertrand 6, Oriol Romeu 6, Mario Lemina 6, James Ward-Prowse 6, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg 5, Dusan Tadic 5, Guido Carrillo 6. Subs: Sofiane Boufal (on for Lemina, 58) 5, Shane Long (on for Ward-Prowse, 71) 5, Steven Davis (on for Romeu, 80) 6.
Liverpool: Loris Karius 7, Trent Alexander-Arnold 6, Joel Matip 7, Virgil van Dijk 7, Andy Robertson 6, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Emre Can 6, Georginio Wijnaldum 6, Mohamed Salah 8, Roberto Firmino 8, Sadio Mane 7. Subs: James Milner (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 60) 6, Adam Lallana (on for Firmino, 79) 5, Dejan Lovren (on for Salah, 89) 5.
Who’s up next?
West Brom v Southampton (FA Cup fifth round, February 17)
Porto v Liverpool (Champions League second round, first leg, February 14)