sport news Liverpool 4-0 Southampton: Klopp's side continue march towards Premier League ...

Roberto Firmino stood, chest puffed out, smirking at the sheer gall of it all. The Kop embraced the pose, roaring their approval. The goal-scorer, Jordan Henderson, rushed to embrace him. And there they stood, grinning manically, celebrating.

Firmino may not score at Anfield these days – bizarrely he is without a home goal all season – but his praises are now sung almost more frequently than any other at this stadium. In a phenomenal season for almost all of Liverpool's players, he is among the best.

An hour had passed. A game, in which Southampton had acquitted themselves admirably, was effectively over.

Mohamed Salah rounded off the victory with a fourth goal in the 90th minute as Liverpool continued march towards title

Mohamed Salah rounded off the victory with a fourth goal in the 90th minute as Liverpool continued march towards title

Salah added a third in the 72nd minute as Liverpool moved 22 points clear of Manchester City following another victory

Salah added a third in the 72nd minute as Liverpool moved 22 points clear of Manchester City following another victory

Salah is surrounded by his Liverpool team-mates after scoring their third goal of the game against Southampton at Anfield

Salah is surrounded by his Liverpool team-mates after scoring their third goal of the game against Southampton at Anfield

Two-nil isn't usually a lead this Liverpool side are in the habit of relinquishing. Naturally Shrewsbury Town may beg to differ. But that was the reserves. The first team, this season, at Anfield have become so predictably good that there is a danger the end of a 30-year yearning will be somewhat anticlimactic.

For Liverpool do what they do so well. In fact, in the modern era of football you begin to wonder just how many teams have ever perfected the counter attack quite so ruthlessly as Liverpool? Take that goal on the hour from Henderson.

It started with a long goal kick from Alex McCarthy. Seconds later, Firmino would be adopting his pose. That's how quickly teams are undone by their front-foot football. The goal kick was headed and picked up by Trent Alexander Arnold. He knows his job in these circumstances; a drilled cross field pass to open up play on the opposite flank. Firmino knew it was coming, so was already anticipating it.

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson doubled his side's lead with a right-footed strike on the hour-mark 

Henderson turns away to celebrate in front of the Liverpool supporters after increasing the league leader's advantage

Henderson turns away to celebrate in front of the Liverpool supporters after increasing the league leader's advantage

The Reds captain celebrates his goal with Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, who supplied the assist for Liverpool's second

The Reds captain celebrates his goal with Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, who supplied the assist for Liverpool's second

Now Southampton had a problem; Firmino approaching goal at full speed while they desperately back tracked. Could they block his shot? Then came the touch you suspect gave Firmino so much pleasure; the shot never came. Instead he cut the ball back to the on-running Henderson, switching the angle of attack to render the Southampton defence helpless. Liverpool's captain took a touch and picked his spot. He wouldn't disappoint.

And the Kop would celebrate with gusto. Until the win over last month, it was almost as though no-one would mention, even in the hyperbole of a football chant, the prospect of winning the league. The damn broke that day when the crowd roared: 'We're going to win the league!' Twenty two points clear – an unprecedented – this isn't even a formality now. It's an extended lap of honour. 'We're going to win the Football League again' they repeatedly intoned here. The chant tells its own story, a throwback to another century. The last time they did win it, it was the Football League.

Obviously it wasn't without its VAR controversy. The first goal, on 47 minutes, came after Danny Ings was felled in the box by Fabinho. No penalty ruled Kevin Friend. Liverpool, again, just played the ball directly upfield for Robertson, who cut back found Firmino, who played in Oxlade-Chamberlain, who struck firmly home. VAR checked and VAR agreed with Friend, correctly you felt.

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain broke the deadlock two minutes after the restart on Saturday afternoon

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain broke the deadlock two minutes after the restart on Saturday afternoon

Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates after opening the scoring for Liverpool in the league match against his former side

Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates after opening the scoring for Liverpool

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