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Liverpool toy with Saints in 4-0 cruise

In another masterful display by the best attack in the Premier League, Liverpool have swept to a 4-0 win over Southampton, making it look like child’s play.

When Diogo Jota celebrated his early goal on Saturday by sitting on the Anfield turf, crossing his legs and pretending to play on a gaming console, it couldn’t have been more fitting.

For Liverpool simply toyed with the Saints, once again maintaining their record of scoring at least two goals in their last 17 games in all competitions.

Needless to say, Jurgen Klopp’s ruthless team are comfortably the top scorers in the League with 39 – no other side is within eight – and the latest victory pulled Liverpool to within a point of leaders Chelsea, who play on Sunday against Manchester United.

Jota inspired Liverpool with two goals – the first coming inside two minutes, with his celebration really a nod to his off-field penchant for gaming.

Indeed, he won a FIFA 20 tournament played by Premier League players while soccer was suspended last year following the coronavirus outbreak.

Thiago Alcantara’s deflected strike and Virgil van Dijk’s volley completed the scoring against a Southampton team whose bold approach of deploying three strikers at Anfield backfired in spectacular fashion.

Liverpool were 3-0 ahead after 37 minutes and could easily have doubled their tally.

“They are a team on fire,” Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said. “It was unbelievable how well they played.”

Liverpool’s front-foot style is something Eddie Howe is trying to bring to Newcastle after taking over at the Saudi-controlled north-east club, but it might take some time.

A 2-0 loss at Arsenal, thanks to second-half goals from Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, extended Newcastle’s winless start in the league to 13 games and the last-placed team fell further adrift on Saturday, with next-to-last Norwich drawing 0-0 at home to Wolves.

“When you’re lacking in confidence, you’ll naturally attract criticism, and we’ll have to take that and be broad-shouldered,” Howe said.

“But if we stay committed like we were today, then we will have a chance.”

Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard’s start to life as a Premier League manager couldn’t be going any better with Aston Villa now enjoying two straight wins under the former Liverpool great, the latest being a 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.

Goals by Matt Targett and John McGinn helped Gerrard get the better of Palace manager Patrick Vieira in a battle of the Premier League midfield greats.

Marc Guehi scored a stoppage-time consolation for Palace, who lost at home for the first time under the French star.

In the day’s late game, Neal Maupay blazed over an open goal as wasteful Brighton saw their winless streak stretch to eight Premier League games following a frustrating goalless draw with Leeds.

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