Football Features

It’s “Jota on the spot” as Liverpool blow Southampton away with second straight 4-0 win at Anfield

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 17:01, 27 November 2021

Diogo Jota bagged a brace as Liverpool demolished Southampton 4-0 at Anfield.

The win took Jurgen Klopp’s men up to second in the Premier League, just one point behind Chelsea before the Blues’ big clash against Manchester United on Sunday. It also made it three straight wins for the Reds after their shock 3-2 loss to West Ham at the start of November.

The win itself ended up being fairly routine with Virgil van Dijk making it 4-0 early in the second-half and reducing the rest of the match to something of a procession. But before that, even before Thiago Alcantara’s supremely saucy (yet still deflected) shot made it 3-0 near the end of the first frame, it was actually an even contest.

Southampton gave Liverpool as good as they got in terms of build-up play, cutting through the Reds lines and getting at their defence regularly. The pace, precision and movement on display was genuinely impressive, but the finishing was woeful.

The difference in the game was, in essence, the finishing of Diogo Jota.

What’s funny is that neither goal was an example of Jota’s sharpshooting (of which he is absolutely capable) nor his superlative heading technique either. No, both his goals were one-touch finishes from a combined total distance of about 10 yards at most.

The first half hour of this match was an object lesson in the value of a goal poacher.

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For years Roberto Firmino was hailed as essential to the way Liverpool played because of his selfless link-play as the central striker. But with the increasing quality of Mohamed Salah’s overall play as well as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson’s obscene creative consistency and, of course, the introduction of Thiago Alcantara into midfield; Liverpool are overall a more creative side now than they were.

That reduces the need for a creator and means that someone who can make killer goalscoring runs and be relied on to take chances becomes more important, and Diogo Jota is very much a man who can make killer goalscoring runs and be relied on to take chances.

Today it took him just two minutes to make a dart into the centre of the pitch and stab home Andrew Robertson’s lovely cutback. The finish gave Liverpool an early lead but Saints had already blown a great chance to score after just 15 seconds. Jota made them pay.

The funniest thing about the first goal was that Jota beat Mohamed Salah to the cutback. The Premier League’s top scorer was looking to make it 12 for the season but such is Jota’s absurd instincts that he was there even before the Egyptian.

Salah didn’t take it personally, of course, and half an hour later, at which point the game could honestly have been 2-2 or 2-1 or even 1-2, he set Jota up for his second.

Again this was the cap on a flowing attacking move, only this time it was Jordan Henderson slipping Salah in down the right and the Egyptian sliding the ball across goal for Jota to arrive and tap the ball home.

Simple as you like yet again, but the goals were the clinical edge that Liverpool’s superb football deserved. They separated the two sides during a period where their overall approach play was on par. They gave Liverpool the advantage. And once they had that advantage they took it and ground Southampton into the Anfield dirt.

But it all started with Diogo being Jota on the spot, showing up when his team needed him to give them the most important and elusive thing in football: goals. His 7th and 8th strikes of the season set the Reds on the road to victory and it won’t be the first time that happens this season.


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