It was the night to remember for Liverpool fans as Jurgen Klopp’s charges thumped Southampton at St Mary’s to make their way into the Capital One Cup semi-finals in impressive fashion.
Liverpool manager rang a couple of changes for the League Cup quarter-final match at Southampton, with six first-team players all rested for the trip to St Mary’s.
Daniel Sturridge has been handed a surprise start against the Saints, following his comeback against Swansea on Sunday. The England forward spearheaded the attack putting a fantastic performance along the way. It was like the 26-year-old strikers was never absent as he hit Southampton with a brace, giving his team much needed push in the back following Mane’s early opener.
Southampton opened the proceeding having stunned Liverpool after only 42 seconds in the match.
Saido Mane met a fine loft cross, heading the ball past Bogdan for an initial shock at St Mary’s for the visiting team.
However, Jurgen Klopp has insisted from day one that his team needs to improve the mental approach, and the results were clearly visible in tonight’s game. The Reds kept their heads up, pressing high in their own half, looking for ways to put the ball in goal and it was evident that the German thinker has done wonders with getting inside the heads of his youthful set-up.
It took Daniel Sturridge 25 minutes to show his class and prove his return will be a huge boost for Klopp’s team. Liverpool striker met Allan’s pass in the box, worked his way around Caulker and slotted home for a well-deserved equalizer.
It was Sturridge’s first goal since his brace against Aston Villa in September, but he was not made to wait long for another. Four minutes later we saw an impressive build-up from Emre Chan who made a glorious cross with the outside of his right boot for a timely run from Sturridge, who fired from his first touch and put another one past Stekelenburg.
There was plenty of more excitement in the first half as Alberto Moreno and Divock Origi ensured the complete turnover in the final moments of the first interval.
Moreno’s run was met with a thumping effort from the edge of the box, but the ball took a slight change of course having deflected of the Belgian’s foot and went into the net for the result of 3-1 after first 45 minutes of play.
Visibly disappointed with their poor efforts, Southampton were never actually in the game, with the exception of Dusan Tadic who was giving a lot of problems to his Liverpool keepers throughout the proceedings.
Complete lack of pace was displayed for much of the game as Koeman’s men found it difficult to breach the compact defending and make any ground in tonight’s fixture.
Liverpool returned from the locker room with an unchanged spirit, making the most of their run at St Mary’s. Three more goals were seen in the second half as Divock Origi took centre stage with his wonder goal on 68 minutes.
He received a ball in space from Ibe and his powerful smash went off the post and into the net behind helpless Stekelenburg.
Only five minutes later, another goal at sight. Jordon Ibe picked up a fine ball from Alberto Moreno fired from a run and thumped it in against the knocked down Southampton.
Rounding up a perfect performance it was Divock Origi who set the final score with his hat-trick.
Brad Smith had plenty of time on the left side of the pitch to prepare a perfectly placed cross, which was met with Origi’s header on 68 minutes.
Liverpool have continued with their impressive, confident performances under Jurgen Klopp, who has really transformed his side. The Reds have now secured their record breaking 16th semi-finals in the competition and are joining the likes of Manchester City, Everton and Stoke City, who have already worked their way through.
Liverpool have subsequently drawn Stoke City, while the other pair in the Capital One Cup semi-finals form Everton and Manchester City.
SOUTHAMPTON: Stekelenburg 5.5 – Soares 5.5 (Ward-Prowse 6), Caulker 6, Van Dijk 6, Bertrand 6.5 –Clasie 6.5, Wanyama 6 – Tadic 7, Mane 7, Davis 6.5 (Romeu 5) – Pelle 6.
Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Juanmi, Martina, Yoshida.
LIVERPOOL: Bogdan 6.5 – Randall 6.5, Skrtel 7, Lovren 6, Moreno 7 – Can 7.5, Lucas Leiva 7, Allen 6.5 (Henderson 6) – Lallana 7 – Sturridge 8, Origi 8.5.
Unused subs: Benteke, Firmino, Mignolet, Milner.
REFEREE: Robert Madley