Southampton were comfortably beat two-nil by Liverpool at St Mary’s this evening.
Goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah saw Liverpool move into the top three in the Premier League with Southampton returning to the relegation places following a chastening weekend in the English top flight.
The opener arrived in just the sixth minute thanks to a defensive mistake from Wesley Hoedt. Former Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played a forward ball which Hoedt failed to deal with, allowing Salah in on the edge of Saint’s box. The in form Egyptian calmly squared the ball for Firmino to slot home.
Southampton came back at the visitors in the first half, working the ball wide and isolating Liverpool’s full backs but to no avail.
Oriol Romeu’s flighted cross found Carillo at the back post in the 17th minute, with Andrew Robertson caught out and Saints’ record signing given a clear sight of goal. The former Monaco man couldn’t capitalise though, hitting his shot into Karius’s chest.
The Argentine had a good chance just before the half hour mark, rising well to meet James Ward-Prowse’s pinpoint cross only to head straight at the ‘keeper.
Ward-Prowse himself had a couple of good first half opportunities, meeting crosses at the back post from Dusan Tadic and Ryan Bertrand, with the young Englishman’s headers timid and easily dealt with by Karius.
Saints dominated possession well after conceding, but couldn’t land a killer blow, with Liverpool comfortably soaking up pressure and looking dangerous on the break.
The imperious Salah doubled the lead just before half time, with Matip feeding his teammate on the edge of the box. The in form forward fed his strike partner Firmino, whose clever back-heel fell perfectly to Salah who calmly slotted home.
The second half passed without incident aside from a Wesley Hoedt effort off of a trademark Ward-Prowse delivery. The Dutchman met his teammates free kick at the near post but was unable to hit the target an hour in.
Mauricio Pellegrino threw on Sofiane Boufal for Mario Lemina before the hour mark, but it made little difference with Sadio Mane forcing a smart save from Alex McCarthy and Salah unable to tap the rebound home with twenty minutes to go.
Liverpool were comfortable from thereon in with Salah and Adam Lallana going close for the visitors; Southampton were unable to even land a glove on their opponents and are now winless in seven at home.
With Newcastle and Huddersfield winning this weekend, Saints returned to the bottom three after escaping the drop zone with their win over West Brom last Saturday. They will face the Baggies again in the FA Cup before a vital run of games against fellow strugglers Burnley, Stoke and Newcastle in the next few weeks.
While Saints were undone by one defensive lapse and a sublime Liverpool move, Saints capitulated in the second half and did not threaten a below par Liverpool team. They must summon some courage if they are to escape relegation, and fast.
Saints: McCarthy; Cédric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand (c); Romeu (Davis 80), Lemina (Boufal 56), Højbjerg; Ward-Prowse (Long 70), Tadić; Carrillo.
Subs: Forster, Yoshida, Davis, Boufal, Redmond, Long, Gabbiadini.
Liverpool: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Can (c), Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mane, Salah (Lovren 89), Firmino (Lallana 79).
Subs: Mignolet, Lovren, Moreno, Milner, Lallana, Ings, Solanke