A half-time reshuffle involving Fabinho was the key to the Reds’ heavy win, according to their coach
Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his side’s second-half transformation in Saturday’s resounding 4-0 win over Southampton at Anfield.
The Reds were far from their fluid best during a chaotic first half and were lucky to not go in at the break behind, with Danny Ings, Shane Long and Nathan Redmond guilty of squandering presentable opportunities.
It was a different story after the interval, though, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain settling any nerves with a 47th-minute strike before a Jordan Henderson effort and two goals from Mohamed Salah sealed a 24th win in 25 Premier League games this season.
Klopp, whose side now hold a 22-point lead over Manchester City, was impressed with Southampton’s display and accepts the result could have been a lot different had they taken advantage of their early chances.
He told a media conference: “First and foremost, I really have to say, wow, Southampton – what a team that is. I have been in football for so long and have never seen a turnaround like that.
“When I saw them playing at home against Chelsea months ago, I was really worried. That kind of turnaround is just exceptional.
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“The set-up they have is constantly causing you problems. Their defending is really good and then their counter attacks are exceptional. [Danny] Ings and [Shane] Long, what they do there up front, how they are supported by the midfield and the wingers, is just exceptional.
“That’s why we had the problems in the first half, because we lost the balls in the wrong moment.
“We had to change two or three things; most importantly we had to change the involvement of Fabinho. We played much calmer and used Fabinho better. It was just a better game and, in the end, we won it.
“The strange thing about this game is that it’s not even too high a scoreline; it’s just strange that Southampton could have won it as well. That just shows how difficult it was. Even more so, we are really pleased about the outcome.”
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Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was delighted with his side’s first-half display and hailed his players’ ability to go toe-to-toe with the world champions for so long.
“Everybody who was at the game saw a very brave Saints squad and I would like to see this game again if we had scored the first goal,” he said.
“I think for everybody it was fantastic to see that we can compete against such a team. It was a fantastic signal of how good we are and how it can go and how we can win.”