Adam Hurrey Active 20 m ago
Depending on how seriously you take the Charity Shield, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have become history makers.
No Anfield side has ever won seven consecutive fixtures at the start of a season – presuming you accept English football’s curtain-raiser constitutes a ‘competitive’ game. A steward’s enquiry may be needed to deny Kenny Dalglish’s 1990 the true accolade given they won ten on the run after a Wembley draw that year.
Nevertheless, a 3-0 stroll against Southampton secured a club record in the Premier League era, and the comfort in which Mark Hughes’ lame visitors were brushed aside suggested they are well equipped to extend the run.
Wesley Hoedt’s own goal, Joel Matip and Mohamed Salah had the points won by full-time, making the second half the ideal formality after their midweek Champions League exertions.
It speaks volumes for Salah’s strike-rate that a three-game wait for a goal constitutes a ‘drought’. For 45 minutes he looked like he was anxious, first denied a tap-in by a brilliant Cedric Soares tackle, and then seeing a clever backheel drift wide.
As is so often the case for the most prolific, his confidence was assisted by a tap-in. He will thank Xherdan Shaqiri for the spectacular 25 yard free-kick that made it possible.
Sadly, it was the Swiss playmaker’s last contribution, an encouraging debut cut short – presumably due to injury - after 45 minutes of party-pieces.
Klopp’s pre-match appreciation of a more ugly, defensively resolute Liverpool had more than a hint of bluff. With the inclusion of Shaqiri ahead of James Milner alongside the usual front three, Southampton could be forgiven for feeling like General Custer’s regiment surrounded by the Cheyenne. From the early moments it was evident they would struggle to resist, especially as a team built to defend had a fatal flaw. Awful defending.
The first two goals came from corners, the visitors sleeping as Shaqiri seized on Sadio Mane’s clever pass on ten minutes. The Swiss winger cross was deflected by the unlucky Hoedt, who will be entitled to point an accusing finger at those leaving so much space.
Worse followed on 21 minutes, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner finding Matip to powerfully head into the top corner. Given the one-touch delights between Salah and Roberto Firmino, there was an irony set-pieces were the Saints’ undoing.
They were punished again when Shaqiri’s 25 yard free-kick bounced off the underside of the crossbar, Salah pouncing for his third of the season.
It was a pity that was the enterprising Shaqiri’s final contribution, and there was another concern for Klopp early in the second half when Virgil Van Dijk had to be replaced with a rib injury.
Southampton never looked like taking advantage of Van Dijk’s absence, the game meandering to its inevitable conclusion as Liverpool assumed top spot.
It's all looking very promising for Liverpool supporters this season
Seven straight wins to start the season sets a new club record. ��https://t.co/wZI6kQfmkW— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 22, 2018
Full-time- Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
It's a sixth top-flight win in a row for league leaders Liverpool. The perfect start to the season goes on.
Three first-half goals do the job for the hosts while visiting Southampton endure a miserable afternoon.
90 + 1 Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Southampton finally have their first shot on target. In second-half stoppage time.
A raking ball over the top finds Austin lurking at the back post but his near post volley is deflected by Alisson. The corner comes to nothing.
At the other end, Salah looks to get on the end of a kick forward but again the linesman lifts his flag.
89 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Salah thinks he's got his 50th goal in English football but the linesman rules the Liverpool striker is offside.
After some pinball in the box, which twice sees Milner try and find the net from the middle of the box, Salah pounces and slots in on the turn. But the flag is up.
88 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
The travelling fans are singing 'When the Saints go marching in'. It's going to be a long trip back down south this evening with their team not managing a shot on target so far.
86 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
First a corner, and now a free-kick 30 yards out for Liverpool.
Half-time substitute James Milner chips it in looking for Salah but the Southampton defence is able to clear.
84 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
The second corner of the second half with 84 minutes on the clock. And it's for Liverpool.
They play it out deep to Andy Robertson who passes to Salah. The ball into the box is cleared, but only as far as Robertson who volleys over.
80 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Ten minutes left in this one. I'll forgive you if you've dozed off in this half. More substitutions than goalmouth action.
78 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Southampton's Charlie Austin comes on for Shane Long who has run and run this afternoon but got zero in the way of reward.
Austin has yet to score a league goal this season. He's manager Mark Hughes' last roll of the dice.
74 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Both managers are out in their technical boxes urging their players to quicken the pace.
Most of this half has been played out in the middle third. Chances at a premium.
70 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Third and final change for the hosts as Wijnaldum comes off and Naby Keita gets himself a 20-minute run out.
69 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
It's not been a complete walk in the park for Liverpool this afternoon but they have enjoyed an awful lot of possession at Anfield...
66 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
The Anfield faithful voicing their support for their team as goalkeeper Alisson, who has had little to do this half, rushes out to clear the danger.
The camera then shows Van Dijk taking his place on the Liverpool bench. Seems the injury is not too serious.
60 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
What mindset do you have when your team is 3-0 up at half-time? The intensity is certainly not as high from Liverpool in the second-half.
But Alexander-Arnold does send in a looping cross which McCarthy has to punch away to stop Mane heading in.
55 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Another Southampton player picks up a booking. Mane looks to escape down the left and Mario Lemina stops him in his tracks. Illegally according to the referee.
54 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Another Liverpool substitution. Although this time it is enforced.
Former Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk leaves the field flanked by the physios after picking up a bang to the rib cage. Joe Gomez comes on in his place.
It's also an opportunity for Mark Hughes to ring the changes with Stuart Armstrong and Jan Bednarek on for Oriol Romeu and Matt Targett.
51 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Steady start to the second-half although most of the play is in Southampton's half.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League games at Anfield (W15 D8), their best run in the competition since August 2009. Number 24 is on the horizon unless the visitors launch an amazing comeback.
46 mins - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
Back underway at Anfield. And Klopp has made a change with James Milner coming on for the impressive Shaqiri. Understood to be a tactical switch rather than an injury.
Half-time - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
For table-toppers Liverpool, it's all looking good in their bid to start a top-flight campaign with six consecutive wins for the third time in their history.
Hoedt's early own-goal helped them on their way before Matip headed in and Salah joined the party on the stroke of half-time with a close range finish.
41 - Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 41 goals in 31 games in all competitions for Liverpool at Anfield (30 goals, 11 assists). Comforts. pic.twitter.com/ej829UhTWv— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 22, 2018
Half-time - Liverpool 3 Southampton 0
A somewhat harsh scoreline on Southampton who have shown glimpses of danger with some teasing crosses from out wide.
They've been in the Liverpool box quite a few times too. The absence of Danny Ings, who is ineligible for the game against his parent club, being felt you think.
GOAL! Liverpool 3 (Salah 45 +3) Southampton 0
Hopefully no Liverpool fans headed out early for half-time...
Shaqiri's wonderful free-kick hits the bar and bounces down near the line where Salah rushes in to make sure it crosses the line. Mini goal-drought over.
It's been far from vintage Liverpool but they're three goals ahead at the break. Southampton with plenty of things to ponder.
42 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
Was about to write things had gone a bit flat approaching half-time but a chance for each side.
Southampton's Pierre Hojbjerg fluffs his lines in the box after Nathan Redmond picks him out. Then quick as a flash, Liverpool are up the other end with Salah. With his back to goal, he tries to flick it into the far post but it goes wide. That would have been some way to end his goal drought.
39 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
The scoreline might have Liverpool comfortably ahead but that doesn't tell the full picture. Southampton are trying to make a go of things. They've actually both had the same number of efforts in the match.
34 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
We have the first yellow card of the day. Oriol Romeu goes flying in on Shaqiri and referee Paul Tierney reaches for his pocket.
31 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
Lovely one-touch play from Liverpool in and around the box. The ball breaks free and Georginio Wijnaldum looks to leather the ball into the net. Instead he's probably managed to find Row Z....
30 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
Half an hour on the clock. Liverpool in the driving seat, thanks to Hoedt's own goal and a powerful header from Matip.
28 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
Better from Southampton. Nathan Redmond has just put in a teasing cross to the back post. Alisson was in no man's land but fortunately Trent Alexander-Arnold was there to clear the danger for his team-mate
27 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
Meanwhile for Southampton, it's been a tricky start. Hoedt won't want to read this stat after the game...
1 - Wesley Hoedt is the first Southampton player to score an own goal in the Premier League since Jos Hooiveld vs Spurs in December 2013. Unfortunate.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 22, 2018
25 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
Smiles all round for everyone connected with Liverpool at the minute.
22 mins - Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
More misery for Southampton. Striker Shane Long is down and receiving treatment. He landed awkwardly after challenging for the ball with Matip. He's now jogged gingerly back onto the field.
GOAL! Liverpool 2 (Joel Matip 21 mins) Southampton 0
Oh but the danger is only gone for so long for the visitors....
The corner is whipped in and Joel Matip rises highest to power a header past the helpless Alex McCarthy. Anfied rocking
20 mins - Liverpool 1 Southampton 0
Almost a second for Liverpool and it's Salah who nearly gets free of his man in the box. Cedric Soares clears for a corner though
16 mins - Liverpool 1 Southampton 0
I'd imagine Jurgen Klopp is pretty satisfied with things so far on his 600th league appearance in charge in his career.
Liverpool enjoying plenty of possession as you would expect.
12 mins - Liverpool 1 Southampton 0
Good response by the visitors to going behind who win their second corner of the match. Jannik Vestergaard tries to meet the cross but heads wide.
GOAL! Liverpool 1 (Hoedt OG 10 mins) Southampton 0
Liverpool are ahead but it's in unfortunate circumstances for Southampton. Wesley Hoedt has somehow managed to slice the ball into his own net from a Liverpool corner. He wasn't under any pressure there...
8 mins - Liverpool 0 Southampton 0
After defending for almost all of the opening minutes, Southampton fashion an opening as Shane Long almost gets in at the near post but Virgil Van Dijk clears and the corner comes to nothing
Labour leader in attendance
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is at the match today. He visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield prior to kick-off
4 mins- Liverpool 0 Southampton 0
A first-half chance of the game and it goes to Liverpool.
Xherdan Shaqiri works himself some space on the right and floats the ball in but Roberto Firmino cannot get any power on his header and it goes wide
3 mins - Liverpool 0 Southampton 0
As expected at home, Liverpool have started with plenty of the ball. Mohamed Salah getting some early touches of the ball on the edge of the Southampton penalty box
We're underway as Paul Tierney blows his whistle
Troubled Southampton at Anfield
While we wait for the players to finish getting ready, here's a little more on Southampton's record at Liverpool....
They've won just three of their 19 Premier League visits to Anfield (W3 D6 L10), their last victory coming in September 2013
Minutes to kick-off
Almost time for the action to get underway. Can Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool keep their winning streak going? Or will Southampton instead improve upon their poor record at Anfield?
'We really want to be the ugliest team to play against'
Jurgen Klopp has reiterated that he wants defensive solidity to go with irresistible spells of attacking football. Chris Bascombe reports:
With his team looking to extend their win streak to seven when they meet Southampton on Saturday, Klopp says there has been a period of reinvention with defensive solidity as obvious as attacking power. No Premier League visitor has scored at Anfield since February.
“We really want to be the ugliest team to play against. That is the plan, with good football players - which is very nice,” said Klopp.
“We want to be good at defending. The best news I have had in the last two weeks is how we have changed or reinvented again our defensive skills. We didn’t need them too much in the first few games- it was not that we didn’t have to defend but they were different games.
Three changes for Liverpool, including a full debut for Xherdan Shaqiri...
Hughes confident Saints will test Liverpool
Southampton boss Mark Hughes believes his side can head to Anfield confident of giving Premier League high-flyers Liverpool plenty of cause for concern.
The Reds maintained their perfect start to the new campaign with a midweek 3-2 Champions League win over Paris St Germain.
Southampton, meanwhile, are unbeaten from the last three matches - but were left frustrated after allowing a 2-0 lead to slip at home on Monday night as Brighton fought back to earn a draw with a stoppage-time penalty.
Despite coming up against a Liverpool side firing on all cylinders - and without on-loan Reds striker Danny Ings, who is not eligible for the fixture - Hughes sees plenty of reasons to head north with a positive mindset.
"It is a game that is going to test us clearly because the team we are facing looks on top of their form, with individuals and the collective functioning really well," the Southampton manager said at a press conference.
"But we will go there with the intentions of causing them problems and maybe taking chances when we are presented with them, because in most games we are creating opportunities, that has not really been a problem for us.
"You would like to think if we can remain in the game and have a good platform, that will enable us to create chances and take chances if they come around."
Hughes continued: "Liverpool are in outstanding form at the moment and if it was a great performance in Europe.
"It's going to be a big test for us, we understand that - but we are on a decent run in terms of confidence.
"Yes, Monday night was a disappointment, but it does not affect us confidence-wise.
"If we had been dominated in the game and poor for long periods, which was not the case, we would have been more concerned going up against an in-form Liverpool team."
Hughes feels the current Liverpool squad under Jurgen Klopp have "travelled a long way down the road" in the club's quest for a first domestic championship since 1989/90.
Liverpool shelled out some £75million to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January, which was a world-record fee for a defender.
Hughes believes the addition of such a calibre of player to the squad could yet tip the balance as the Reds look to sustain their title challenge.
"What you would imagine as their first XI is very very strong, as strong as any in their league," the Southampton boss said.
"Now their squad, which will sustain them during the season, looks really strong as well, that could be the difference this year."