Liverpool beat Southampton comfortably in the end to move into third place in the Premier League.
A brilliant counter attack set up by Loris Karius saw Mo Salah square for Roberto Firmino to open the scoring, before a role reversal saw Salah bag his 29th of the season after the Brazilian backheeled into his path, to condemn Southampton to a defeat.
Boo boys silenced
The reception that Virgil van Dijk got was not a welcoming one, but could have been far worse. Even so, he and his teammates responded in the perfect manner: by producing an assured performance that yielded three points.
In the past, Dejan Lovren has been given a ferocious torrent of abuse when playing against his former club, and was rightly left on the bench until near the end, but it takes more than that to put Van Dijk out of his stride.
Van Dijk was calm and controlling and part of a defence that kept a clean sheet.
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Mind the gap
Liverpool are now two points behind second-placed Manchester United, and are nine clear of Arsenal in sixth.
It is that sort of gap that will make Liverpool’s task easier later in the season should Arsenal choose to focus on winning the Europa League, giving up on the top four.
If the Reds can maintain the gap for another month or so, that will be the case sooner rather than later, and should take the pressure off them during the run in.
Sloppy passing goes unpunished
Liverpool were far from their best on the day, but had just enough control and composure to get over the line.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emre Can were perhaps the biggest culprits, but were by no means the only ones, as poor concentration and execution of simple passes saw simple balls go astray.
Against a side better than Southampton, who look dangerously close to the drop zone, the Reds could have been punished more.
As it was, the Saints never looked like scoring as they often have found this season, especially at home.
Firmino hits 20
Even a couple of weeks ago, many pundits were suggesting Liverpool needed a 20-goal striker – now they can point to Firmino as proof that they already have one.
The Brazilian has been brilliant all season long, and opened the scoring here, as he finished off a move after a mistake by Wesley Hoedt.
It will not be long before he is recognised as the top-class central striker that he has evolved into by more than just Liverpool supporters.
Today was not his best performance by any means, but he is still so important to Liverpool’s play even when not on top form.
Gini Wijnaldum is often missing in away games, but today was crisp and clean in his performance, seemingly enjoying his afternoon.
He did not manage to get an elusive goal, but got about the pitch effectively and helped his side control the tempo.
If he could play like that more regularly, then he would find himself in the starting eleven more often.