Sturridge is the second-best striker in the Premier League: Five things we learned from Southampton 1 Liverpool 6
Daniel Sturridge does not need much time to get back to his best, Jurgen Klopp’s team send out devastating statement and other things we learned from Southampton 1 Liverpool 6.
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Sturridge’s class is permanent
After Jurgen Klopp went public with his concerns about Sturridge’s willingness to play through the pain barrier, all eyes were on the Englishman at St Mary’s Stadium. With Roy Hodgson among those in attendance to watch the 26-year-old make just his fourth start of another injury-ravaged season, Sturridge responded to the added scrutiny by banging in two splendid finishes within four first-half minutes after his team had gone a goal down. Sturridge’s first owed much to his quick feet and hammer of a left foot after a slightly heavy take of Joe Allen’s shrewd pass. The second was exquisitely created by Emre Can with a brilliant outside-of-the-boot flick that Sturridge guided first time past Maarten Stekelenburg with his weaker right foot. For Sturridge, fitness may be temporary but class is permanent. Sergio Aguero is the only better striker in the Premier League.
Klopp has restored Liverpool’s belief
After presiding over a few nearly-but-not-quite displays in the early weeks of his Anfield reign, Klopp concluded that the players did not have the belief to emerge victorious from difficult situations. How quickly that has changed, and how the manager must take so much credit. Just like in their 3-1 win at Chelsea, Liverpool went an early goal down and stormed back. They added to their three first-half goals with rasping second-half strikes from youthful duo Divock Origi and Jordan Ibe. It was an extraordinary comeback, given how how the visitors had been so outplayed in the early exchanges. Morale at Anfield is sky-high.
Mane is Southampton’s prize asset
Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Victor Wanyama and Jose Fonte are among the Southampton players who have attracted admiring glances. But Sadio Mane is Ronald Koeman’s prize asset. The Manchester United target was on fire early on, opening the scoring after 39 seconds with a header and causing the visitors’ backline problems with his pace and movement on the right flank. If a club come close to matching the Saints’ £30million valuation, it is hard to see him at St Mary’s next season.
Liverpool send out huge statement
In their last three away games against domestic opposition, Liverpool have scored three goals at Chelsea, four at Manchester City and now six at Southampton. This is an extraordinary series of scorelines, not least because of the calibre of the opposition. The remarkable thing was that a full-strength Southampton looked the more potent of the two teams in the early exchanges but once Sturridge had slammed in the equaliser, Liverpool slammed the foot on the accelerator and were soon out of sight. This was a huge statement of intent. If Klopp’s team could reproduce this kind of form at home, they would surely be title contenders.
Moreno must iron out his faults
The left-back has been one of the many Liverpool players who have responded well to what Adam Lallana called the “aura” and “charisma” of Jurgen Klopp. At his best rampaging forward, Alberto Moreno still has much to learn from a defensive point of view. The opening goal, after 39 seconds, was a case in point. Sadio Mane got a run on Moreno at the back post and stole in front of him to head Ryan Bertrand’s pinpoint cross past Adam Bogdan. The dangerous Mane caused Moreno lots of problems early on, although the Spaniard grew in authority as the game progressed. His fizzing, long-distance shot shortly before half-time was proof of a solid technique and he was unfortunate that it was credited to Divock Origi via a minute deflection.