MX23RW : Tuesday, October 16 15:10:53

Result: Liverpool stroll past Southampton to maintain 100% start

Mohamed Salah returns to the scoresheet as Liverpool continue their 100% start to the season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Southampton at Anfield.

Title hopefuls Liverpool continued their 100% start to the Premier League season and set a new club record by cruising past Southampton 3-0 at Anfield this afternoon.

The Reds were two up inside 21 minutes and made the result safe as early as half time when Mohamed Salah ended a four-game scoring drought on the stroke of the break.

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

It is the first time in Liverpool's history that they have begun a campaign with seven successive wins in all competitions, following Tuesday's late Champions League triumph over Paris Saint-Germain.

Jurgen Klopp drafted in Xherdan Shaqiri for his full Liverpool debut and the former Stoke City winger played a role in the opening goal on 10 minutes, cutting inside onto his right foot for a shot which Wesley Hoedt clumsily steered into his own net.

Southampton responded reasonably well as Jannik Vestergaard went close from a corner, and Virgil van Dijk, playing against his former club, had to be expertly positioned to ensure that Shane Long did not make the most of some good crosses into the box.

The visitors soon slipped further behind though, and it was another player to benefit from Klopp's rotation who doubled Liverpool's lead as Joel Matip got a run on 6ft 6in Vestergaard to head his first goal at Anfield beyond Alex McCarthy and into the top corner.

Klopp's men surrendered a two-goal lead to PSG in midweek but there appeared to be little danger of a repeat, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg passing up one of Southampton's few chances when he completely scuffed his half-volley from Ryan Bertrand's cross.

Salah raced up the other end and nearly scored within 15 seconds of Hojbjerg's miss, back-heeling wide of the post from inside the six-yard box, while Sadio Mane tested the handling of McCarthy as Liverpool knocked on the door for a third before the interval.

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

The Saints could not get to the break for some respite as Shaqiri, who was surprisingly hooked at half time despite his contribution to two goals, whipped a 30-yard free kick against the crossbar, and Salah raced in to tap home the rebound from only a yard out.

Liverpool strolled through much of the second period in second gear, although the loss of Van Dijk to injury may have soured Klopp's afternoon ahead of next week's double header against unbeaten Chelsea, who visit Anfield on Wednesday in the EFL Cup before welcoming the Reds to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Joe Gomez, rested from the start today, deputised with authority as the Reds made it eight top-flight home matches without conceding.

It was not until the final 10 minutes that Liverpool looked like adding to the score, as Andrew Robertson volleyed narrowly over the crossbar from 25 yards and Salah saw a goal disallowed for offside during a goalmouth scramble in which James Milner had two efforts blocked.

Only in stoppage time did the Saints register a shot on target when Charlie Austin's low drive was turned around the post by Alisson Becker.

With a sixth win from six, Liverpool go clear at the top of the table although Chelsea can join them on 18 points with victory over West Ham United tomorrow.

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk (Gomez, 55'), Robertson; Wijnaldum (Keita, 70'), Henderson, Shaqiri (Milner, 46'); Mane, Salah, Firmino

SOUTHAMPTON (4-5-1): McCarthy; Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand; Redmond, Hojbjerg, Lemina, Romeu (Bednarek, 55'), Targett (Armstrong, 55'); Long (Austin, 79')

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Danny Ings in action for Southampton on August 12, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

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