Darwin Nunez delivers as Liverpool rides past Southampton
Darwin Nunez scored his fourth and fifth goals of the Premier League season to give Liverpool a 3-1 win over Southampton on Saturday at Anfield, sending the Reds off to the World Cup break on a positive note.
Saints got a goal from Che Adams in the loss, as new manager Nathan Jones took the reins for a very tricky first fixture.
Roberto Firmino had given Liverpool a 1-0 lead after six minutes, with Saints quickly replying, as all four goals were scored in the game’s first 42 minutes.
Liverpool moves into sixth place for the moment, its 22 points one more than yet-to-play Brighton and Chelsea and one behind Manchester United.
Southampton remains in the drop zone with 12 points, two points behind losing Everton.
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Here’s everything you need for Liverpool vs Southampton.
What we learned from Liverpool vs Southampton
Darwin Nunez really has arrived: He’s going to be measured unfairly against Erling Haaland this season, but Darwin Nunez continues to look more and more like the star center forward Liverpool needed to one day fully replace Roberto Firmino. We say one day because Firmino is showing he’s not done yet and can teach plenty to his Uruguayan understudy, but Nunez found his finishing in the Champions League and now has been finding regular chances in the Premier League.
Nathan Jones’ real work begins now: While Jurgen Klopp was forced to manage from the stands thanks to the delayed enforcement of his post-Man City antics punishment, new Southampton boss Nathan Jones would’ve been forgiven if he stayed in the executive box to watch Saints rather than put ‘Liverpool away’ down as his first Premier League match in charge of Southampton. The fiery Jones has some talent to mold at St. Mary’s as the jury’s obviously out on whether Saints have made the right replacement for Ralph Hasenhuttl... as well as whether it was time to remove the Austrian at all.
The game was tighter than the score indicates, with Saints managing five of the game’s 12 shots on target and keeping 40 percent of the ball. And Liverpool really did need Alisson Becker’s four saves. It didn’t look like Liverpool was under fire, but Saints did manage some good chances for their new boss.
Stars of the Show
World Cup break! Liverpool returns Dec. 20 with a League Cup Round of 16 visit to Man City before a Premier League trip to Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
On the same days, Southampton hosts Lincoln City in the League Cup and then Brighton in the PL.
Roberto Firmino goal video: Liverpool strikes early
Che Adams goal video: JWP services helps Saints go level
Darwin Nunez goal videos
How to watch Liverpool vs Southampton live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, SaturdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
A win here would be a big boost for Liverpool as they try to head into the World Cup break on a high and within touching distance of the top four. Their win at Tottenham proved they’re capable of reaching their very best and they had to dig in during the second half of that game to hold on to all three points. Defeats against Nottingham Forest and Leeds in recent weeks will make Klopp wary of Saints though, as Liverpool will likely dominate possession but will be wary of getting caught out on the counter. As for Saints, well, this is a free hit. After sacking Hasenhuttl nobody expects them to get anything at Anfield and if they do, they will go into the World Cup break on a high. Even though they’re in the relegation zone they are just four points off 11th place in the table and have an easier schedule coming up in late December and early January. The youngest team in the Premier League needs to grow up. Fast.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Mohamed Salah scored twice against Tottenham last weekend and has scored five goals in his last four outings in the Premier League and Champions League. Andy Robertson has made a huge difference since his return from injury, while goalkeeper Alisson has also been superb and probably Liverpool’s best player this season. Most of Saints’ squad is bang out of form, as you would expect as they sit in the bottom three. However, French left back Romain Perraud scored against Newcastle last week and has been solid defensively and very good going forward. Che Adams has been working so hard but just hasn’t taken enough of the big chances which have come his way.
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
Luis Diaz, Arthur Melo, Joel Matip, and Diogo Jota remain out, Naby Keita has stepped up his recovery while James Milner returns to the bench. and Joel Matip should be in the squad. Klopp will be relieved that some of his injury issues have eased but it has impacted his selection in recent weeks. Salah, Darwin Nunez, and Roberto Firmino start in attack.
Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options
Who knows how Saints will line up for this clash. They only have three injury concerns, two at right back and one at left back, with Kyle Walker-Peters and Tino Livramento out but both will be available after the World Cup break. Juan Larios joined them on the sidelines as the young left back was injured while playing as an emergency right back against Newcastle last time out.