Liverpool 4-0 Southampton: Jordan Henderson shines as Reds move 22 points clear

Liverpool move a gargantuan 22 points clear at the Premier League summit with a hard-fought win over Southampton at Anfield. 

The Saints were never going to be pushovers for Liverpool, which is quite the compliment to Ralph Hassenhuttl’s men when you consider the Reds had won 23 of their 24 league matches coming into the game.

The opening 45 minutes was dominated by VAR controversy and Southampton were incredibly unlucky not to bag themselves an indirect free-kick mere yards out from goal.

Anfield waited with bated breath after Alisson Becker scooped up what appeared to be a back-pass from Andrew Robertson, but play resumed without the sound of the referee’s whistle.

Then, at the other end of the pitch, Liverpool furiously protested for a penalty after Mohamed Salah’s superb long-ball had initially created a huge chance for Virgil van Dijk.

Closely-fought opening 45 minutes

And after the Dutchman tried to score with an ambitious backheel, it looked for all intents and purposes as though Roberto Firmino had been illegally hauled to ground. VAR said no.

The visitors ended with a real flurry of chances before half-time as ex-Liverpool striker Danny Ings  spurned a big chance in front of the Kop, before Alisson denied Shane Long on the half-volley.

In the words of Jermaine Jenas on BT Sport’s ‘The Score’: “I don’t think I’ve seen Liverpool concede so many chances this early in a game this season.”

It certainly wasn’t hyperbole from the TV pundit either as Southampton entered the break with two more attempts on goal than their league-leading hosts, albeit with the scores still at 0-0.

Oxlade-Chamberlain scores the opener

However, whatever Jurgen Klopp drilled into his team during the interval clearly worked because Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finally fired them into the lead after 47 minutes.

A gorgeous flick from Firmino kept the phase of play alive for Liverpool, allowing Oxlade-Chamberlain to pick up the ball and fire past a wrong-footed Alex McCarthy at his near post.

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And the Reds thought they had gone 2-0 just a few minutes later when Salah capped off a brilliant team move, only for VAR to chalk off the strike for a correct, although marginal, offside.

Henderson makes it 2-0

It didn’t matter in the end, though, as Jordan Henderson bagged a second that the technology couldn’t deny with his first strike at Anfield in around 11 months.

Firmino once again turned provider after Trent Alexander-Arnold lumped the ball up the pitch, finding his club captain in the area and watching him shovel the ball past McCarthy.

Salah finally gets his goal

And just in case the second-half couldn’t get any better for Liverpool, Salah finally got the goal that VAR had denied him earlier and it was another brilliant move from the Merseysiders.

Alisson lumped the ball forward from deep and Henderson provided a beautiful through-ball across the Saints defence that Salah defly chipped into the net for 3-0.

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Hat-trick of assists for Firmino

Salah wasn’t finished there, though, as Firmino bagged himself a hat-trick of assists to wrap up the game at 4-0. 

The Egyptian messily smuggled the ball across the line after his original pass was picked up by Firmino and fired back across goal on his left foot after an initial struggle.

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The win moves Liverpool even closer to Premier League glory and Arsenal’s unbeaten record is looking increasingly realistic as they progress to 42 games without defeat.

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