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    Southampton 0-2 Liverpool Match Report


    Mohamed Salah scored his 29th goal of the season as his Liverpool side moved up to third in the table following a comfortable victory over Southampton.

    The Reds only produced flashes of their best form throughout the match but were rarely threatened by their below-par hosts, who dropped into the bottom-three after Huddersfield, Newcastle and Swansea all recorded victories.

    Egyptian international Salah set up the opening goal for teammate Roberto Firmino during Liverpool's most devastating spell of the match, albeit one where the weaknesses in the Southampton defence were regularly exposed.

    Wesley Hoedt failed to intercept Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's speculative pass to Salah, who spotted the incoming Roberto Firmino with a deft pass before the Brazilian produced an unerring finish from 15 yards.

    The home side were fortunate that referee Martin Atkinson chose not to penalise Hoedt after he appeared to pull back Firmino when through on goal, while Jack Stephens also tugged the Brazilian's shirt inside the penalty area later in the half.

    Southampton gradually began to grow into the match after an erratic start to proceedings and could have drawn level when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's strike from the edge of the six-yard box was parried away by Loris Karius.

    New signing Guido Carrillo also wasted an excellent opportunity when he headed straight at Karius from eight yards out, while James Ward-Prowse produced a point-blank effort which was acrobatically tipped over the bar by the Liverpool stopper.

    As The Reds managed to weather the home team's mini-revival, the in-form Salah gave Southampton a lesson in how to finish after he was presented with an opportunity two minutes before the break.

    The £34million summer signing from Roma played a give-and-go with Firmino on the edge of the penalty area before producing a clinical low finish to beat Alex McCarthy from 12 yards and double his side's lead.

    Liverpool continued to dominate after the break and could have scored a third goal when Sadio Mane's acrobatic strike was blocked by Ward-Prowse before Salah fired over the bar from 15 yards.

    Roberto Firmino was then the next Liverpool player to try his luck but his low strike was saved by the legs of McCarthy, while Salah was surprisingly off-target when his effort from the rebound only found the side-netting.

    Southampton seemed to lose belief after the break as Liverpool, despite not playing a full throttle, cruised to victory with Mane and Lallana both having chances to extend the scoreline in the final 15 minutes.

    Mane was unable to fully wrap his left foot around the ball in order to score following a pinpoint through-ball by the impressive Firmino, while Lallana also went close against his former side when he skewed an effort wide from 10 yards.

    Although The Reds were unable to add to their two-goal lead, the result was more than enough to elevate the club back into third position after Tottenham had beaten Arsenal 1-0 in Saturday's North London derby.

    Jurgen Klopp's side must now prepare for Wednesday's trip to Porto in the Champions League, which will be the club's first match in the knockout stage of the competition since a quarter-final defeat to Chelsea back in 2009.

    Southampton, meanwhile, drop to 18th in the table after Swansea, Newcastle and Huddersfield all recorded wins throughout the weekend against Burnley, Manchester United and Bournemouth respectively.

    The Saints return to action at West Brom on Saturday in the fifth round of the FA Cup, where Mauricio Pellegrino's side will be targeting repeat performance following their recent league victory at The Hawthorns.
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    Item Reviewed: Southampton 0-2 Liverpool Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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