Liverpool canter to 2-0 win at Southampton

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Feb 2018 14:13:25

 


Southampton, 

AFTER the agonies of last week, Liverpool closed to within two points of second-placed Manchester United with a comfortable 2-0 victory at relegation-haunted Southampton.Held 2-2 by top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday in a turbulent game that had manager Juergen Klopp apparently in danger of self combustion, Liverpool barely broke sweat at St Mary’s Stadium as Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah ran the show.

Firmino fired Liverpool ahead after seven minutes when Southampton messed up in defence and Salah picked out his fellow forward to stroke home.The roles were reversed shortly before half-time when Liverpool counter-attacked and Firmino played in Salah for his 22nd goal of the season with an audacious back heel.Salah is one behind the league’s top scorer Harry Kane.

“It was mature today,” Klopp said.
“The rhythm was not too good today but we scored wonderful goals and should have scored more. I think we deserved the three points, clean sheet, nearly perfect today. We could have closed it earlier.”
Liverpool, who featured three former Southampton players in their starting line-up and also brought on former Saints Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren late on, should have added more in the second half as the hosts offered precious little.
Liverpool have 54 points to United’s 56 with Tottenham Hotspur on 52 and champions Chelsea, on 50 as the battle for Champions League spots hots up. Southampton are third from bottom, a point behind 17th-placed Huddersfield Town who won earlier.


Their former defender Virgil van Dijk, who joined Liverpool in the recent transfer window after an often acrimonious transfer saga, was booed by the home faithful who had little else to get excited about.
“I think it is a bit unfair because no-one really knows what happened over the summer and the last few months but I just kept my head down and enjoyed it,” the Dutchman said.“I have a lot of good friends (at Southampton), I care for the club. It is difficult to get out of the relegation zone but they have quality players.”

Klopp praises Van Dijk after ‘fantastic’ Southampton return
LIVERPOOL manager Juergen Klopp has praised defender Virgil van Dijk’s composed display during Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League victory over Southampton as the Dutchman returned to St Mary’s for the first time since his move to Merseyside.A section of Southampton supporters booed Van Dijk, who joined the Saints in 2015 before completing a big-money move to Liverpool last month, upon his return but the 26-year-old handled the jeers admirably to help Klopp’s side ease to a win.

“He did really well and dealt with the situation fantastically,” Klopp told reporters. “We had a little talk before the game, asking him what he thought - ‘No, I’m fine, boss’.“I didn’t want to make him nervous if he isn’t, obviously he wasn’t. The crowd is there to make life difficult for the opponent, but it wasn’t too difficult for him from this point of view and I’m happy about that.”

Forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino continued their stellar form for the club, scoring a goal each to help Liverpool move up to third in the table, two points adrift of second-placed Manchester United.Salah, who joined Liverpool before the start of the season, is the league’s second-highest goalscorer with 22 goals, one behind Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and one ahead of Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero while Firmino has notched 12 goals.

“I really think Aguero and Kane and a few others are really good players as well, but our boys are important for us,” the German boss added.“I love them because of their skills, their attitude but their work-rate is outstanding. They profit from our style of play as well. They play in areas where they like to have the ball.

“But, in this strong league, you cannot be third without fantastic players. They are two of them.”Liverpool play Porto in the Champions League knockout stages on Wednesday followed by a league fixture against West Ham United on Feb 24.