Liverpool beat Southampton 4-0 to continue their unbeaten Premier League run at Anfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted the first goal just after half time, his second goal in as many league matches when he drilled the ball low into the bottom corner.
Reds’ skipper Jordan Henderson made it 2-0 on the hour mark with a calm finish after being set up by Roberto Firmino.
Henderson then played in Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s third and the Egypt forward added a fourth from close range in the last minute.
The scoreline was harsh on the visitors, who matched Liverpool for much of the first hour with Danny Ings going close in the first half and Shane Long also denied by Liverpool keeper Alisson.
The victory extends Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the league to 42 games and they now sit 22 points clear at the top of the table with second-placed Manchester City not playing until Sunday.
It was Southampton’s first away defeat in five games and they fall to 11th place.
Liverpool title gets closer, unbeaten run rolls on
Liverpool’s wait for a first league title in 30 years is surely almost over. They have one hand on the trophy and the other is moving steadily closer with every fixture.
It is only 1 February but Liverpool are 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, unbeaten in 42 games, have conceded just one league goal in their last 10 matches and have 73 points from 25 games – a top-flight record.
Before Saturday, only City had won more games at home in the Premier League between March 2011 and March 2012.
With only 13 matches left, it is increasingly surely a question of whether Liverpool can remain unbeaten for the season.
Nevertheless, their performance in the first half against Southampton was nervous and suggested that the visitors could have a chance to inflict a first defeat on Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Sloppy passes, mistakes at the back and a lack of intensity going forward meant the Saints had opportunities to score and were barely stretched at the back.
Southampton, spearheaded by top-scorer Ings in attack, finished the half as the better team, coming close through the former Reds striker as well as Long and Moussa Dejepo.
But Liverpool, no doubt invigorated by a half-time talk from Klopp, were quick out the blocks in the second half and as soon as they scored the victory that was expected before the match felt inevitable.
The scorer of that opener, Oxlade-Chamberlain, is starting to regain the form he demonstrated prior to picking up a serious knee injury while Henderson was magnificent again in controlling the midfield. They were solid at the back with Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk’s centre-back partnership continuing to flourish.
The Reds were without the injured Sadio Mane, but Firmino and Salah delivered the goods; the Brazil striker produced a hat-trick of assists to take his total to 51 in all competitions for the club, while Salah scored twice.