EPL

Jota feasts on poacher's treats as Liverpool thump Southampton

By Sports Desk November 27, 2021

Diogo Jota hailed ruthless Liverpool and declared himself a lucky man after scoring two close-range goals in a 4-0 drubbing of Southampton.

The Portuguese forward converted crosses from Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah to give Liverpool an early two-goal lead, and Jurgen Klopp's team were later described as "on fire" by beaten Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Jota's opener just one minute and 37 seconds into the game was Liverpool's earliest in a Premier League game since Naby Keita scored after 15 seconds against Huddersfield Town in April 2019.

Thiago Alcantara's deflected shot and a strike from Virgil van Dijk completed the rout and Liverpool, armed with a four-goal lead after 52 minutes, were able to ease through to the final whistle.

Southampton's three-man defence proved hapless against Jota, Sadio Mane and Salah.

Salah's assist for Liverpool's second means he has been directly involved in 25 goals in all competitions this season (17 goals, 8 assists), more than double that of any other Premier League player.

Jota can point to impressive figures too. The former Wolves man has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 14 starts in all competitions for Liverpool, scoring nine times in this run and adding one assist.

"In the end, it is a good game for us," Jota told Sky Sports. "I think we adapted well to their three at the back. They changed again in the second half and were slightly better.

"I think we took advantage. There were a lot of spaces in the first half. We got the result and a clean sheet, so a good performance today.

"I think it's always easier when you start well with a good team goal and go 1-0 up at home. We knew in the past we have been 2-0 up and didn't win the game, but today we did a job and that is important.

"I'm taking advantage of playing in a really good team. Fortunately for me, I'm being able to score some goals, and hopefully I can keep on doing it."

Liverpool moved one point behind leaders Chelsea, who face Manchester United on Sunday. Klopp's team have scored 39 goals in their 13 Premier League games this season, and that ranks as their highest goal total at this stage of a top-flight campaign.

For Southampton, it was an afternoon of regrets, with Hasenhuttl admitting his team's defensive shape proved a failure. In the end, the visitors were looking to limit the damage.

Hasenhuttl said: "The first half was simply not good enough to be competitive against this team.

"We tried a different way of defending... it absolutely was not working and in the second half we changed to our normal behaviours and felt a little more comfortable and could release the pressure, although in the second half they also made it a little bit calmer.

"But they are at the moment on fire. It's very tough for a defending team. It's very tough to defend against this side when they are in this shape and this is what we have seen today. It was for us today no chance to take something after the start."

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    - The Sun reports that Manchester United have put their search for a new manager on hold as they consider whether to make Ralf Rangnick's stay permanent.

    - Staying at United, numerous reports in England suggest Jesse Lingard is angry with the club as their demands have put off Newcastle's attempt to sign the player on loan.

    - Ousmane Dembele wants to stay at Barcelona after all, according to Sport. The France international's representatives met with Barca boss Xavi this week.

    - Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele is set to join Valencia on loan, reports Telefoot.

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