By David Haycocks – @DavidHaycocks2
After a captivating performance against Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Co, Liverpool went from nail biting to cruising against Southampton in contrast to the midweek Champions League drama.
It seemed as if once the first goal went in it was plain sailing after a lovely intricate pass by Sadio Manè and a deflection from Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross broke the deadlock, with Wesley Hoedt knocking in his own net. Southampton had their say in the opening minutes but as expected by most Liverpool’s dominance began to show, they hunted the ball in packs and even though the front three haven’t been so clinical they still caused problems.
Although, causing these problems leads to set pieces which in turn lead to Joel Matip doubling the lead, after a lovely out-swinging corner by the home-grown star Trent Alexander-Arnold. It looks like the fullback’s bet with Andy Robertson on who can provide the most assists is still a tight one.
After some keep ball and a few misplaced passes in the final third, a free-kick was won on the edge of the box. Shaqiri stepped up and hit an absolute peach which was unfortunate not to nestle in after cracking the bar, luckily Mo Salah who has been frustrated in recent weeks was delighted to follow up the free-kick for a tap in. The game was over as the half time whistle was blown and in the second half Liverpool’s dominance still showed as the tempo of their play remained like the first half.
Jurgen Klopp will have been happy to see the desire in his men and surprisingly enough Swiss star Shaqiri, who was one of the stand-out performers against Mark Hughes’ men, was subbed off for James Milner at half time. However, the Englishman’s introduction into the game assured there was no complacency after going three-nil up so early on in the game, a smart move if you look at it from that perspective.
Apart from a few half chances and some patient play, not much occurred in the second half except a Virgil van Dijk injury scare but the gaffer has since said he took a not-so-serious knock to the ribs.
All in all, for Liverpool it was just another day’s work. There were murmurs around the ground about the front three but even though they’ve lacked their killer edge at points the work they put in off the ball creates chances. There wasn’t really an outstanding man of the match as it was a collective victory and there were many misplaced passes by almost every player, it was the work ethic as a team that sealed the victory. The team is solid and now with quality in the squad it’s hard not to get your hopes up, after all we’ve made it a lot further in competitions with much less.
Though the saying still goes ‘you don’t win anything in September’ which is true, the lads need to keep on winning and we need to keep creating the typical electric Anfield atmosphere. Teams like Manchester City and PSG can afford to buy the league, but, one thing you can’t buy is passion and Liverpool have that in abundance.