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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 14 December, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off is at 3.00pm.

Let’s start with some team news then…

Today’s teams are…

Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Klavan, Lovren, Moreno, Coutinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Subs: Karius, Milner, Gomez, Sturridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Can, Solanke.

Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Hoedt, van Dijk, Bertrand, Davis, Romeu, Tadic, Boufal, Redmond, Long.

Subs: Yoshida, Austin, McCarthy, Ward-Prowse, Gabbiadini, Hojbjerg, Targett.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp returns to the touchline following a health scare midweek which saw the 50-year-old check into a local hospital. He missed training on Wednesday but is back to himself to face Southampton this afternoon — a side Liverpool have not beaten in two years.

In team news Virgil van Dijk starts at the back for the visitors. The Dutch defender was the subject of a long and controversial potential move to Anfield which never materialised, causing frosty relations between player and Southampton.

Shane Long makes the starting XI for Mauricio Pellegrino’s side, with the striker looking to end a goal drought which dates back to February, a total of 30 games in all competitions for club and country.

For Liverpool, boss Klopp reverts to his strongest front three with Sadio Mane starting alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. Liverpool have failed to beat the Saints in their last five meetings.

However their patchy form so far this season — three wins, four draws and four defeats — will be of benefit to the Reds this afternoon.

The man of the moment: Virgil van Dijk warms up for Southampton ahead of kick-off.

Liverpool v Southampton - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


An early problem for boss Pelligrino as Dušan Tadić takes an early knock and goes down holding his hamstring.

He departs to the sideline at Anfield in order to receive medical attention.


A significant amount of early pressure from Liverpool has Southampton just a little bit disjointed. Roberto Firmino is his usual menacing self pressing high and with intensity along the visitors’ backline.


Tadić has since returned to play and is assuming his position along the right wing with Shane Long ahead of him up top.


Chance! Oh goodness me what has just happened there. Saying that passage of play was like Sunday league would be an insult to Sunday league.

A horrendous back-pass from van Dijk causes all sorts of problems for Southampton as Forster fails to gather the ball not once, but twice — with the goalkeeper scrambling around like a madman before Mohamed Salah shoots wide of the post.

That could have been disastrous for the visitors but they escape.


A solid start for Liverpool sees Salah drag another effort wide of the post following a surging run from Alexander-Arnold. Two decent chances in succession for the hosts, but it remains 0-0 despite their early endeavours.


Back at Anfield. Mauricio Pellegrino made 15 appearances for Liverpool way back in 2005.

Liverpool v Southampton - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


A hoofed ball up the length of the pitch comes down in the direction of Sadio Mane. He fails to control it initially with his first touch, however a dangerous pounce means he maintains pressure on Cédric Soares to put the ball out of danger.

More good pressure from Liverpool but Southampton seem to be managing it well in these early exchanges.


Two chances in quick succession for Liverpool. The first sees the ball recycled towards the edge of the box where Georginio Wijnaldum sees a strike from range well parried by Forster.

Southampton try to counter but they are caught unawares when the ball comes hurtling back at the feet of Philippe Coutinho who sizes up a shot from range before dragging his effort just wide of the post from 25 yards.


A second chance in as many minutes for the Brazilian as Liverpool earn a free kick. It’s a good distance from goal and while has scored those sorts of goals from those sorts of ranges before, this time he slams his effort rising well over the top of the crossbar.


Southampton come out of their shell for a moment following an intense period of pressure over the last 10-15 minutes.

Steven Davies breaks down the left wing and cuts inside smartly, but his cross fails to make it past the first man.

Much like the plight of striker Long, Southampton have struggled to score goals this season. It’s not the creation of chances, it’s putting them away which has seen them drop to 13th in the Premier League.


Back at the other end and it’s another chance for Liverpool as Alexander-Arnold’s effort from range is deflected wide by van Dijk and out for a corner.


Despite all that’s happened Liverpool fans still want their man.

Liverpool v Southampton - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne


Well, that is simply sublime from that man Mohamed Salah once again.

It’s his 8th Premier league goal of the season and this one is right up their with his very best.

It’s terrible defending from Southampton attempting to dribble the ball out of danger. Liverpool regain possession, the ball is fed to Salah on the edge of the area and, taking one touch to set himself up, the winger curls a stunning effort beyond the reach of Fraser Forster.


Liverpool continue to keep the pressure on searching for a second to double their lead before the break.

Returning from a hamstring injury Sadio Mane is calling all the shots and running the show, but Pellegrino’s are managing to just hang on.


Now, then. Southampton go up the other end. A ball is delivered into the box but Simon Mignolet manages to get a first to the ball before the head of Boufal, who was menacing and unmarked inside the penalty area.


Who else could it be as Liverpool do double their lead just before the break.

It’s a stunning through ball perfectly measured from Coutinho and Mohamed Salah does excellently to keep pace with it before slipping the ball past goalkeeper Forster for his second.

There’s no stopping him. Nine goals in his first 12 Premier League goals for Liverpool.


Chance for Southampton! A brilliant free kick from Ryan Bertrand almost curls into the top corner, but it bends just wide.


Second-half: We’re back underway…


Chance for Liverpool right from the off! It’s more great intricate dribbling play from Salah along the right wing. He cuts inside and feeds a clever through ball to Sadio Mane, however his shot is swiftly blocked down inside the box.


It’s almost a half-chance for Shane Long as he chases a loose ball. The pass is overhit, however, and rushing from his goal line Simon Mignolet reaches the ball first in order to boot it clear.


Chance! Oooh that was close form the visitors. Boufal has eyes for goal as he dribbles into the box. The forward cuts inside and opens his body up, but his effort is blocked down heroically by Dejan Lovren.

Excellent defending from the centre back.


Another chance for Liverpool and it really is just end-to-end at the minute. Alexander-Arnold surges forward and plays a cute through ball to team-mate Firmino.

He tries to chip the ball over the body of Forster, but the ball is blocked down well by the goalkeeper before being scrambled clear.


Substitution for Southampton: Charlie Austin replaces Dušan Tadić.


Liverpool almost add a third, but following a quick break on the counter which had the Southampton backline scrambling Alberto Moreno was the man tasked with adding the killer blow, which he failed to do so.

The Spanish defender did well to make up the ground and get himself into the box with his lightning pace, however his weaker right foot let him down at the final hurdle.


Oriol Romeu is given a yellow card for some loose hands which dragged Roberto Firmino back. The midfielder is not impressed and he will now be suspended for his side’s game against Everton next week.


Chance! It’s agonisingly close but Liverpool just cannot seem to add a third. This time it’s Coutinho who finds the time and space to have a go, but his low shot is drilled marginally wide of the bottom corner.

Had it been on target, it certainly had Forster beaten.


It’s far too easy for Liverpool now. An initial effort is palmed away by goalkeeper Forster, but in hindsight he will really wish that he had tried to catch it as the ball fell to an unmarked Philippe Coutinho who smashed a composed effort beyond him to make it 3-0.

Game, set and match.


Substitution for Liverpool: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Sadio Mane.


The pace has dropped in the last little while as Liverpool realise the job is done — Southampton know it too.

They have had chances here and there but following Coutinho’s third there is no way back into this for Mauricio Pellegrino’s side. It’s simply a case of damaged limitations now, making sure not to let the scoreline grow in the next 15 minutes.


Substitution for Southampton: Manolo Gabbiadini replaces Shane Long.


Substitution for Liverpool: James Milner replaces Mohamed Salah.


Mohamed Salah exits the pitch to a standing ovation and a bear from his manager. His two goals were the cherries on top of another star-studded performance from the winger.


CHANCE! Oooof that was so close to being a fourth for Liverpool. Roberto Firmino dances through an abject Southampton defnece. He takes the ball across goal and almost, almost picks out the bottom corner with a low strike.

It drags just wide of the post, and it remains 3-0 for now.


Another chance comes and go and this time it’s Emre Can. He dribbles into the box and tries to chip the ball over Forster, but his effort is marginally overhit and floats harmlessly over the crossbar.


Liverpool continuing to press forward in search of a fourth and really they could have had easily that or more this evening.

It was pedestrian at times and were it not for some decent saves from goalkeeper Forster and some poor finishing in front of goal it could have been a cricket score.

Liverpool have been their usual best in attack, but that was too often helped by a poor Southampton side who never looked like really taking control.


There will be three minutes of additional time to come.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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