Jordan Henderson starred as Liverpool come back late to beat Southampton 3-1 and go top of the table.
The Reds conceded an early goal after Saints’ striker Shane Long hammered home a close-range shot for the lead.Embed from Getty Images
The home side went on to play a very disciplined game, choking any attack Jurgen Klopp’s men could muster.
Naby Keïta managed to equalize 10 minutes before the half to record his first Liverpool goal.
A dominant second-half performance, along with goals from Mohamed Salah and captain Jordan Henderson secured the three points.
Tale of two halves
It’s very interesting how Liverpool continue to play two very different halves of football.
They either come out of the gates firing on all cylinders only to sit back and absorb insane amounts of pressure in the second period.Embed from Getty Images
Or they try to control the game early and then come out guns blazing after the break. This game was no different.
Southampton were up to the task of putting a halt to Liverpool’s title challenge.
They pressed hard on every ball and Long managed to score eight minutes into the game.
Gini Wijnaldum lost track of his man in midfield while Joel Matip seemed to be lost on the play altogether.
The Cameroonian was so far out of position it left Long alone in the box.
It was the one big error in an otherwise impressive night for the Cameroonian.
This fired up the Red men as they knew they had to score multiple goals to win.Embed from Getty Images
Eight minutes later, Matip dribbled his way to the edge of the box and found Salah. The Egyptian’s cross to Sadio Mané was blocked by the Southampton ‘keeper.
It wasn’t until the 36th minute that Liverpool finally levelled the score. The shortest player on the pitch, Keïta soared high above his defender to head in his first career goal for Liverpool.
Henderson rescues Liverpool
The second half was a different story. Liverpool may have started out a tad slow but the introduction of Henderson and Milner brought new life to the squad.
Operating more as a stereotypical No. 8, Henderson was superb. His header off a defensive corner sent Salah on a breakaway for his goal.Embed from Getty Images
Salah sprinted down the field and could have passed to Firmino but didn’t need to. He made no mistake as he artfully rebounded the ball off the near post and sent the travelling Kop into a state of euphoria.
Henderson wasn’t done.
He was relentless. Whether it was chasing down the man with the ball or leading his team onward. Henderson was in charge.
His late goal in the last five minutes of regulation was like a shot of adrenaline to Reds fans worldwide.
Firmino held the ball up beautifully on the side of the penalty area before picking out a trailing Henderson in the middle.
That was that. Game, set and match.
Liverpool now face Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday, April 9.
If Klopp needs any help with his team selection, he should try Henderson-Keita-Fabinho again.