Sadio Mane scores for Liverpool
Mane (left) looked back to something approaching his form of recent seasons with a sharp display against his former club

Liverpool boosted their hopes of Champions League qualification by beating Southampton to put pressure on fourth-placed Leicester City.

Newcastle United beat the Foxes 4-2 on Friday and Jurgen Klopp’s men took full advantage by moving within six points of the top four with four games remaining – while Leicester have three.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring against his former club, heading home Mohamed Salah’s cross moments after Alisson had made two saves in quick succession.

Alisson gifted Southampton a chance to equalise late in the game when he passed straight to Che Adams, but the Brazil goalkeeper made amends by saving the Scotland striker’s shot.

Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara then scored his first Liverpool goal in stoppage time to hand Klopp his 100th win at Anfield in all competitions.

Southampton are still not safe from relegation but their Premier League status could be secured when West Bromwich Albion and Fulham play later this weekend.

A return to form at Anfield

After being imperious at home in the past three seasons, Liverpool’s title defence faltered mainly as a result of losing six top-flight games at Anfield for the first time in 67 years.

But after a run of just one win from their last 10 league games at home, they made a bright start against Southampton, with Salah twice testing Fraser Forster early on and Diogo Jota firing straight at the former England goalkeeper.

Liverpool’s stand-in captain Georginio Wijnaldum also headed against the top of the crossbar from a corner, while a Saints break resulted in Alisson having to make a point-blank save from Adams, and Nathan Redmond fired straight at him from the rebound.

Just 40 seconds later, Mane rose above Kyle Walker-Peters to head home Salah’s inswinging cross. Remarkably, it was the first time the forwards have combined for a goal in the Premier League this season.

Nathan Tella headed straight at Alisson just before the break, and after Adams spurned his opportunity late on, substitute Roberto Firmino fed Thiago to seal victory with a 20-yard strike into the bottom corner.

More follows.

Player of the match

AlissonAlisson

Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 47Phillips
  • 46R Williams
  • 26Robertson
  • 6Thiago Alcántara
  • 3Fabinho
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 11SalahSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 87′minutes
  • 20JotaSubstituted forFirminoat 79′minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forJonesat 90+3′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Firmino
  • 13Adrián
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 17Jones
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 58Woodburn
  • 76N Williams
  • 89Koumetio

Southampton

Formation 4-4-2

  • 44Forster
  • 2Walker-Peters
  • 35Bednarek
  • 4Vestergaard
  • 5Stephens
  • 32WalcottSubstituted forDialloat 66′minutes
  • 8Ward-Prowse
  • 17Armstrong
  • 11RedmondBooked at 61mins
  • 10AdamsSubstituted forDjenepoat 79′minutes
  • 23TellaSubstituted forObafemiat 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1McCarthy
  • 12Djenepo
  • 14Obafemi
  • 22Salisu
  • 27Diallo
  • 31Ramsay
  • 40N’Lundulu
  • 47Ferry
  • 64Jankewitz

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