Live Commentary: Liverpool 3-0 Southampton – as it happened

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Liverpool made history by beginning a season with seven successive wins in all competitions courtesy of their comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton this afternoon.

The Reds are now six wins from six in the league and also triumphed over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday thanks to Roberto Firmino’s late winner.

Today’s victory at Anfield was less dramatic, with a Wesley Hoedt own goal and Joel Matip‘s header putting Jurgen Klopp‘s men in full control within 21 minutes of kickoff.

Mohamed Salah made the points safe with a third before half time – his first goal in five matches – although the Reds did lose Virgil van Dijk to injury in the second half.

Relive how the action unfolded on Merseyside with Sports Mole‘s minute-by-minute updates below.

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2.00pmLiverpool made it six wins from six this season with their late triumph over PSG on Tuesday. The Reds have never started a season with seven successive victories, so will make history by beating Southampton today. The Saints, pillaged by the Merseysiders in the transfer market in recent years, would love to be the team to bring Jurgen Klopp‘s side down to Earth…

2.02pmLIVERPOOL: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Shaqiri; Mane, Salah, Firmino
Subs: Mignolet, Gomez, Moreno, Milner, Fabinho, Keita, Sturridge

2.02pmLIVERPOOL: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Shaqiri; Mane, Salah, Firmino
Subs: Mignolet, Gomez, Moreno, Fabinho, Milner, Keita, Sturridge

2.04pmSOUTHAMPTON: McCarthy; Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Lemina, Romeu, Targett; Redmond, Long
Subs: Gunn, Yoshida, Bednarek, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Austin

2.04pmSOUTHAMPTON: McCarthy; Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Lemina, Romeu, Targett; Redmond, Long
Subs: Gunn, Yoshida, Bednarek, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Austin

2.06pmKlopp gambles by changing a winning team, bringing in Xherdan Shaqiri for a full Liverpool debut, and swapping Joe Gomez for Joel Matip in defence. The Cameroonian, first choice centre-back last season, has made three appearances as an 89th-minute substitute so far this campaign.

2.06pmKlopp gambles by changing a winning team, bringing in Xherdan Shaqiri for a full Liverpool debut, and swapping Joe Gomez for Joel Matip in defence. The Cameroonian, first choice centre-back last season, has made three appearances as an 89th-minute substitute so far this campaign.

2.08pmShaqiri’s inclusion does not come at the expense of any of Liverpool’s trio of fabulous forwards, meaning that he will play in the midfield three. Roberto Firmino is fit to start after recovering from a nasty eye injury suffered at Wembley to score a famous Champions League winner in midweek.

2.08pmShaqiri’s inclusion does not come at the expense of any of Liverpool’s trio of fabulous forwards, meaning that he will play in the midfield three. Roberto Firmino is fit to start after recovering from a nasty eye injury suffered at Wembley to score a famous Champions League winner in midweek.

2.10pmJames Milner has been given a rest after a brilliant start to the season which has prompted calls for Gareth Southgate to try to bait the midfielder out of retirement. Jordan Henderson is given another start in his quest for full fitness so Naby Keita has to settle for a place on the bench as he did on Tuesday.

2.10pmJames Milner has been given a rest after a brilliant start to the season which has prompted calls for Gareth Southgate to try to bait the midfielder out of retirement. Jordan Henderson is given another start in his quest for full fitness so Naby Keita has to settle for a place on the bench as he did on Tuesday.

2.12pmA goal against PSG is not enough for Daniel Sturridge to persuade Klopp to give him successive starts for the first time since May 2017. Fabinho, who was finally seen in a Liverpool shirt on Tuesday as a late substitute, is also only on the bench despite his manager rotating his squad in places.

2.14pmOn-loan Southampton striker Danny Ings is ineligible today against parent club. The 26-year-old has scored three Premier League goals in five appearances for the Saints. That is the same amount that he scored in three injury-ravaged years at Anfield.

2.16pmIngs dropping out is one of two changes made by Mark Hughes from Southampton’s 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion. Mohamed Elyounoussi is also out as Oriol Romeu and Matt Targett come in to give the visitors some extra defensive protection.

2.18pmTargett’s inclusion for a first Premier League start of the season is particularly interesting as it gives Southampton the flexibility to switch from a back four to a back five with ease. Alternatively, the left-back by trade may have been brought in to give Ryan Bertrand some assistance with Mohamed Salah.

2.20pmManolo Gabbiadini failed a late fitness test on a hamstring strain so has not been risked among the substitutes. Charlie Austin is on call if the Saints can take this game deep but there is a serious lack of firepower in the starting lineup, with neither Nathan Redmond or Shane Long particularly prolific, to be kind.

2.22pmOne Southampton player who has discovered his shooting boots lately is midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who has bagged in successive top-flight matches, having previously gone 48 Premier League games without finding the net.

2.24pmA goal apiece from Ings and Hojbjerg wasn’t enough against Brighton on Monday as the Saints were made to regret not killing the game off with a vital third. In fact, they haven’t scored 3 in a Premier League game since February 2018.

2.26pmMonday’s collapse was not a new problem for the South Coast outfit, who have dropped a whopping 26 points from leading positions in the Premier League since the start of last season, the most of any side to appear in both campaigns.

2.28pmHaving won 2-0 on their visit to Crystal Palace three weeks ago, the Saints could string together consecutive away league victories for the first time since February to March 2017, when they beat Sunderland and Watford in succession.

2.30pmHowever, the chances of that happening appear slim as Southampton have not claimed a top-six scalp on the road since May 2016 when they beat Tottenham 2-1 at White Hart Lane. That is 24 winless league fixtures away to last season’s top six (D7, L17).

2.32pmOnly one of those 24 matches has occurred during Hughes’s tenure, which began in March 2018 – a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal. The Welshman is unlikely to inspire a change in luck today at least, having failed to win on any of his 11 Premier League visits to Anfield and losing all of his last five.

2.34pmIngs is gone but not forgotten at Liverpool. Joe Gomez, who struck up a close relationship with the former Burnley and Bournemouth forward when they were both laid off with long-term injuries, has confirmed that they keep in touch.

“He is back at home and enjoying his football,” Gomez told Liverpool’s official website. “When he scores and stuff, I drop him a message to say congrats. He is someone that I will keep in touch with going forward, definitely.”

2.36pmBringing in Ings on loan on deadline day has proven to be an excellent piece of business from Southampton, and it was about time that Liverpool returned the favour having ransacked the Saints in recent years. That being said, the Reds have ploughed £167m into Southampton’s bank account.

2.38pmOf the six players that Liverpool have seized from the Saints since June 2014, only the two most recent acquisitions make the Reds squad today – Van Dijk and Mane. Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren are out injured while Nathaniel Clyne has fallen victim to the rise of Trent Alexander-Arnold. Rickie Lambert has left the club.

2.40pmLiverpool have passed every test so far this season with flying colours. Today they face another one, having won only one of their six league matches that followed a Champions League group stage fixture last term. They can’t afford to be dropping that many points if they are to keep pace with Man City.

2.42pmThe Reds have kept seven consecutive Premier League home clean sheets. The last visiting player to score a top-flight goal at Anfield was Michail Antonio in West Ham’s 4-1 defeat in February. Liverpool have bagged 19 unanswered goals since then.

2.42pmThe Reds have kept seven consecutive Premier League home clean sheets. The last visiting player to score a top-flight goal at Anfield was Michail Antonio in West Ham’s 4-1 defeat in February. Liverpool have bagged 19 unanswered goals since then.

2.44pmThe acquisition of Virgil van Dijk from today’s opponents has been the catalyst behind Liverpool’s new defensive robustness. The Dutchman made 80 appearances in two and a half seasons at St Mary’s after joining from Celtic.

2.46pmWhile Van Dijk’s form has been imperious, there have been some questions asked over Mohamed Salah following the Egyptian’s hit-and-miss start to the season. Last season’s PFA Player of the Year will hope to silence these ridiculous critics by getting on the scoresheet today, and he enjoyed playing the Saints last term, scoring three times against them last season and also providing an assist.

2.48pmSalah might be on penalty duty today with Milner having been rested. The Englishman has matched Salah for goals so far this season, although all 10 of the midfielder’s last 10 goals have been penalties.

2.50pmAround 10 minutes until kickoff on Merseyside, where Jurgen Klopp will celebrate his 600th league game as a manager. The first was in charge of Mainz, a 1–0 home win over MSV Duisburg in the German second tier. He has come a long way since then…

2.52pmHEAD TO HEAD: Liverpool did the double over Southampton last season, winning 3-0 at Anfield and 2-0 on the south coast. Previously the Saints had gone five games unbeaten against the Reds.

2.54pmSouthampton have failed to score in any of their last four league meetings with Liverpool. Their last Premier League goal against the Reds came in March 2016 from Sadio Mane, who is Liverpool’s top scorer this season.

2.56pmSpeaking of Mane, the Senegalese winger is two goals away from joining an elite club…

2.58pmPREDICTION: Liverpool will be basking in the glory of a wonderful European night and could not be more confident heading into this one. I can’t see complacency being an issue with the way that they have been defending of late and I think they will stroll to a 3-0 win.

1 minKICKOFF:  The action is underway on Merseyside, where Paul Tierney is our referee this afternoon…

3 minThe way Liverpool have started is very interesting. Salah seems to have taken up a centre forward position, with Firmino off the left, Mane off the right and Shaqiri as the No.10. That may not be Klopp’s actual setup, but it does show the fluidity the Reds possess and that could cause the Saints big problems.

5 minThose four attack-minded players combine for the first time as Shaqiri knocks a cross into the box for the run of Firmino in from the left. The Brazilian gets above Hoedt and wins a glancing header, but his contact is too cute and the ball rolls harmlessly wide of Alex McCarthy’s far post.

7 minAs may have been expected, it has been all Liverpool in the early stages. Shane Long is going to have a lot of lost causes to chase down today, which is actually the Irish striker’s strength. Scoring goals certainly hasn’t been of late, with two in his last 61 appearance for club and country.

8 minHaving said that, Long has just got in front of Van Dijk with a clever run to the near post. Targett whips in a decent low cross but the Liverpool defender recovers to diver behind for a corner.

10 minGOAL!  LIVERPOOL 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON (Wesley Hoedt own goal)

10 minLiverpool are ahead inside the opening 10 minutes, and for all of the attacking firepower they have on the pitch it is an own goal which has got them on the board. Shaqiri cuts inside onto his right foot and a tame shot takes a deflection off Hoedt and bobbles over the line before the scrambling McCarthy can clear. When things are going your way, they really are going your way!

Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Southampton on September 22, 2018© Reuters

12 minNearly an opening for Southampton as Long isolates Van Dijk one-on-one but there was only going to be one winner of that battle.

13 minCHANCE!  Decent response from Southampton this, as 6ft 6in defender Vestergaard shows his aerial threat from a corner. The pressure from Mane prevented him from directing his header close to goal but if it is Mane who continues to be tasked with marking him he may get some more joy.

15 minMatip knocks a ball over the top for Salah but the ball skips away from the Egyptian and McCarthy sweeps up.

17 minRedmond and Cedric work it nicely down the Saints right, with the former driving into the area and skewing a shot wide. The ex-Norwich City winger wants a penalty, feeling that he had been clipped by the retreating Firmino as he pulled the trigger. If there was any contact then it was minimal.

19 minHaving watched much of Liverpool’s lightning start to the season from the bench, Shaqiri is clearing determined to make an impression. The Swiss has seen plenty of the ball so far, and had a key involvement in the opening goal so he is doing pretty well so far.

21 minGOAL!  LIVERPOOL 2-0 SOUTHAMPTON (JOEL MATIP)

21 minAn outstanding last-ditch tackle from Cedric had thwarted Salah, but it is only a brief reprieve for the Saints as Matip scores from the resultant corner. Zonal marking is to blame for this soft goal, with Matip allowed to get a run on Vestergaard who could not get up high enough from his standing start. It is a good header from Matip, into the top corner and out of McCarthy’s reach. Already, Liverpool may be out of Southampton’s…

Joel Matip celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Southampton on September 22, 2018© Reuters

23 minThings could go from bad to worse for Southampton here with Long having picked up an injury. The Republic of Ireland international landed awkwardly on his knee but he is going to try to run it off.

25 minEven at 2-0 there is no slacking from the Liverpool press, with Wijnaldum taking a risk by committing himself to pinch the ball from Hojbjerg in the Southampton half. The transition leads to nothing in the end but that does show that the Reds are in a relentless mood at present.

27 minA poor clearance from Redmond’s cross falls to Hojbjerg, whose low shot is blocked by Van Dijk. The Dutchman is then perfectly positioned to turn away Redmond’s follow-up delivery to the near post. Is there a better defender in the world on current form?

27 minA poor clearance from Redmond’s cross falls to Hojbjerg, whose low shot is blocked by Van Dijk. The Dutchman is then perfectly positioned to turn away Redmond’s follow-up delivery to the near post. Is there a better defender in the world on current form?

29 minFirmino is heralded for his defensive work-rate but he is leaving Robertson isolated against Cedric and Redmond, who produces a wonderful cross to the back post which Targett was running on to, only for Alexander-Arnold to make a crucial covering clearance.

31 minFirmino and Salah exchange a lovely one-two in the box but Hoedt gets a foot in to prevent the Brazilian from getting a shot away.

33 minThe quality of Redmond’s delivery so far has been excellent, and Romeu makes a nuisance of himself in the box. The ball eventually comes to Bertrand on the left edge of the box and he completely scuffs his volley, passing up a good opportunity for Southampton.

34 minYELLOW CARD!  Romeu is an unsurprising first name in the book this afternoon, although may count himself unlucky. His aggressive slide tackle on Shaqiri may have been acceptable 10-15 years ago but referee Tierney was not a fan of the force behind the challenge that won the ball but sent Shaqiri tumbling.

36 minMore composed defending from Romeu on this occasion as he stands up Salah in the box and takes the ball cleanly in a dangerous one-on-one situation.

38 minLATEST: Defending champions Manchester City are also 2-0 up thanks to a quickfire double from Aguero and Bernardo Silva at Cardiff. As it stands though the Reds will be top of the table at 5pm.

40 minLong has shaken off that earlier injury and is continuing to selflessly with little reward. There was an opportunity 10 minutes or so ago for Bertrand to square to the striker who had got the wrong side of Matip but the Saints captain hesitated with his cross. That may be as good as it gets for Long today.

43 minCHANCE!  A chance at each end, with Hojbjerg, unmarked on the penalty spot, scuffing a side-footed half-volley from Bertrand’s cross and allowing Liverpool to counter. Ten seconds later and Salah has nearly back-heeled the Reds into a three-goal lead, having initially got in front of Vestergaard only to be forced away from goal by the giant Dane. The Egyptian nearly came up with something spectacular though.

45 minSHOT!  Southampton are hanging on as we approach the break. Firmino takes on a 20-yard shot which was blocked and Mane also tried his luck from range, straight into the gloves of McCarthy.

45+3 minGOAL!  LIVERPOOL 3-0 SOUTHAMPTON (MOHAMED SALAH)

45+3 minLiverpool have been knocking on the door for a third and find one before half time. Shaqiri whips a 30-yard free kick against the crossbar and with McCarthy stranded on the floor in his attempt to save from the Swiss, Salah races in to knock home the rebound from a yard out – his first goal in five matches.

45+4 minHALF TIME:  LIVERPOOL 3-0 SOUTHAMPTON

3.52pmThere is no simply no stopping Liverpool at the minute, and that third goal from Salah in added time has surely secured them a sixth successive win to start the Premier League season. A Wesley Hoedt own goal and Joel Matip’s header had already put the hosts in a commanding position at Anfield.

3.54pmLATEST: As we are expecting things to play out over the course of the season, Man City are matching Liverpool stride for stride as they also lead 3-0 at half time over Cardiff. Elsewhere, Manchester United are 1-0 up against Wolves and Burnley are on course for a crucial win over Bournemouth. Leicester and Huddersfield are all square at 1-1 while Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle remains goalless.

3.56pmXherdan Shaqiri is enjoying his full debut for Liverpool, thriving in a free role behind the forward three and playing a part in two of the goals. His shot that Hoedt diverted into his own net was nothing special but the free kick which led to Salah’s goal was inches away from being an absolute stunner.

3.58pmEven only 12 months ago, a 3-0 lead may not have been a certainty for Liverpool but the additions of Van Dijk and Alisson means there is surely no coming back for Southampton now. With the game wrapped up, may Klopp rest some of his stars for the League Cup tie with Chelsea this coming week?

4.00pmWhat will Mark Hughes be thinking in the opposing dressing room? The Welshman may consider his side unlucky to be three down as there have been elements of fortune to a couple of the goals, but poor defending has also played its part and you can’t make simple mistakes with the Reds in this form.

46 minKICKOFF:  We are back underway at Anfield and Klopp has made a half-time change, bringing on Milner for Shaqiri. There did not appear to be any injury so that is a surprising decision from the German, with the Swiss having arguably been Liverpool’s best player and others much more in need of rest.

48 minHenderson knocks a ball over the top for Mane to run onto but the Senegalese cannot quite bring it down.

50 minLiverpool have an opportunity to break 3-on-3, which they do better than any team in Europe. Salah slides Firmino through the middle but Vestergaard gets in front to usher the ball back to his goalkeeper.

52 minVestergaard is enduring a difficult afternoon and gets caught in possession by Salah out on the left flank. The defender just about recovers but Southampton need to be careful otherwise they could be on the end of a proper drubbing here.

54 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Something that could sour the afternoon for Klopp – an injury to Van Dijk. The Dutchman goes down clutching his ribs and Klopp is taking no chances, getting Gomez on straight away. Saints also make a double change – Bednarek and Armstrong on for Targett and Romeu.

56 minYELLOW CARD!  Lemina enters the book for a careless trip on Mane, who has probably been the quietest of Liverpool’s attackers so far.

58 minSouthampton’s substitutions have prompted a tactical switch to a back three. We have seen how that system can play into Liverpool’s hands if Salah and Mane are given the space to get behind the wing-backs.

60 minLiverpool fans everywhere now…

More selfishly, Fantasy Football managers are cursing clean sheet points that have slipped through their fingers.

62 minAlexander-Arnold lifts a tempting ball into the box but McCarthy comes through the bodies to punch away effectively.

64 minOn the opposite flank, we have not seen as much of Robertson from an offensive standpoint today. The Scot gallops forward here but runs into trouble in the form of Bednarek. He is surely a candidate for a rest in midweek against Chelsea when Alberto Moreno will be hoping for a start.

66 minJurgen Klopp is a hard manager to please! Liverpool’s defenders are taking a breather, stroking the ball around the back and their manager is gesturing them to get the ball forward quicker.

68 minGomez has slipped straight into Van Dijk’s shoes since coming on. The young defender has won every 50-50 and gets a huge round of applause from the Kop for tracking Redmond down the right and making a thumping slide tackle.

70 minSUBSTITUTION: Klopp makes his final change, giving Wijnaldum a breather and bringing on Naby Keita. This could have been a good time to expose Fabinho to the Premier League but the Reds boss is making his new signing wait.

72 minThe majority of this second half has been played in the middle third. Liverpool have not shown the usual intensity to run riot as they often do once they smell blood. You could argue that is good game management from the Reds as they look to last the distance.

74 minLATEST: Man City are outgunning Liverpool for the first time this afternoon, with Riyad Mahrez opening his account for the champions. The reds of Manchester are poised to slip up at home to Wolves though after Joao Moutinho’s equaliser.

76 minSouthampton are seeing most of the ball at this point but are not being very progressive with it, simply keeping possession to limit the damage that Liverpool can cause to the scoreline.

78 minSUBSTITUTION: A tough afternoon for Long comes to an end as Charlie Austin comes on for the final 12 minutes. Can the poacher register Southampton’s first shot on target of the game?

80 minSalah gets beyond Vestergaard on the right side of the area but McCarthy is off his line quickly to thwart the Kop hero, who pulled his foot out of the challenge to avoid a potential collison.

82 minLiverpool have been less of a threat in the second period because none of the midfielders are taking up the dangerous positions that Shaqiri did in the opening 45 minutes. Keita is more of a dribbler and carries the ball forward but the attack ends when Mane is tackled by Bednarek.

84 minCedric has picked up a knock but Southampton have used up all of their subs so the Portuguese will have to play on.

86 minSHOT!  A corner is cleared and Robertson runs onto a 25-yard volley which is just lacking the dip to trouble McCarthy.

88 minBertrand tries to release Armstrong down the left but Gomez is rapidly across on the cover, earning himself another ripple from the home crowd.

89 minDISALLOWED GOAL!  Salah thinks he has a second but it is ruled out for offside. There was an almighty scramble in the penalty box, during which Milner should have scored twice, and the ball eventually falls to the Egyptian who turns it home from close range, but only after coming back from an offside position.

90+1 minSHOT!  Finally an effort on target for the Saints as Austin’s drive towards the near post is turned around for a corner by the alert Alisson.

90+2 minFULL TIME:  LIVERPOOL 3-0 SOUTHAMPTON

4.56pmSix from six for Liverpool who continue their flawless start to the season by sweeping aside the Saints this afternoon. The Reds barely broke sweat and had the points sewn up by half time thanks in part to a first goal in four for Mohamed Salah. Next up, a huge double header against unbeaten Chelsea…

4.58pmThat’s it from our coverage from Anfield. Read our match report on the action here, and catch up with the rest of this afternoon’s Premier League action in our results section. Thanks for joining Sports Mole today. Until next time, goodbye.

4.58pmThat’s it from our coverage from Anfield. Read our match report on the action here, and catch up with the rest of this afternoon’s Premier League action in our results section. Thanks for joining Sports Mole today. Until next time, goodbye.

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