Jurgen Klopp, Virgil van Dijk 9/10 as Liverpool make light work of Southampton
Liverpool made it a club-record seven straight wins to start the season, cruising to a 3-0 victory as Southampton were blown away in the first half. The Reds took their foot off the gas after the break but ensured they kept the back door shut to record their fourth clean sheet of the season.
Xherdan Shaqiri was excellent on his first start while Mohamed Salah got himself back on the scoresheet after his "drought" and looked lively throughout.
More goals in the second half would have been nice as goal difference might yet come into play at some point this season, but the only real negative was Virgil van Dijk being forced off with a rib injury. It is not thought to be serious, but with some huge games coming up, it could not have come at a worse time.
Manager rating out of 10
Jurgen Klopp, 9 -- Shuffled his pack by bringing in Shaqiri and Joel Matip for their first starts of the season. Those decisions paid off as Shaqiri created two goals while Matip scored one. It was somewhat surprising to see Shaqiri withdrawn at half-time but he will presumably be a key player in Wednesday's Carabao Cup clash with Chelsea so the early departure should see him nice and fresh for that.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson Becker, 7 -- Didn't have to make his first save until the 91st minute when he made a decent stop to deny substitute Charlie Austin. Showed again that he has learned from his mistake at Leicester by taking no risks with the ball at his feet.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Mature display from the youngster. Excellent in possession and produced some quality deliveries into the box. Had very little to do defensively.
DF Joel Matip, 7 -- Needed Van Dijk to come to his rescue early on after a sloppy pass, but performed well after that and scored his first goal at Anfield with a towering header from a corner.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 8 -- Dominant until forced off with injury. Southampton managed a few decent attacks in the first half, but any time the ball came into the box it seemed to be met by their former favourite. The Dutchman also came out on top in a few one-on-one situations and has really started the season in imperious form.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- Typically strong performance from the energetic Scot. Good in possession, worked up and down the line tirelessly and came out on top in his battle with the lively Nathan Redmond. Almost scored at the Kop end late on but couldn't keep his shot down.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Ran the game from the middle of the park. Passed it well, took up excellent positions with and without the ball and helped his side win possession back on countless occasions.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- Another good performance from the classy midfielder who impressed once again before making way for Naby Keita midway through the first half.
MF Xherdan Shaqiri, 8 -- Impressive full debut. Handed a roaming role behind the front three, he created the opening goal with a clever run and cross and was then desperately unlucky not to score himself with a stunning free-kick that came down off the underside of the bar before being put over the line by Salah. Somewhat unfortunate to be taken off at half-time but he certainly made his mark.
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 -- It was threatening to be another frustrating day for Salah when a couple of early chances went begging, but his ability to sniff out rebounds saw him eventually claim the goal all of Anfield was desperate for him to score. Looked more like his old self in the second half. Didn't add to his goal tally, but there were signs that the front three are beginning to click into gear again.
FW Robert Firmino, 7 -- Sacrificed himself for the team by playing on the left for the first half to allow Salah to be employed centrally. Moved back into the middle after the break and linked well with Salah in particular, but looked very tired toward the end and may well be rested in midweek against Chelsea, particularly with Daniel Sturridge waiting in the wings and in good form.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- Decent performance against his former club. Not at his brilliant best but was always a creative force. Started the game on the right but was more effective after the break when he reverted to his usual left wing spot and linked well with Robertson.
DF Joe Gomez, 8 -- Came on to replace Van Dijk and really caught the eye with his strength in dealing with one-on-one situations against the quick and troublesome Shane Long. A class act who seems to be growing in stature by the week.
MF James Milner, 7 -- Replaced Shaqiri at half-time. Produced a typical Milner performance and almost scored late on.
MF Naby Keita, 6 -- Replaced Wijnaldum and kept things ticking over nicely. Used the ball sensibly and helped the Reds see the game out with no dramas.