The quarter-final tie had been predicted to be a stern test of Liverpool's credentials under Klopp and so it proved early on. Southampton took the lead inside the first minute, thanks to Sadio Mane’s close range header past the Reds’ stand-in keeper Adam Bogdan from a Ryan Bertrand cross.
Liverpool struggled for a response until Daniel Sturridge decided to take centre stage. The timely reminder of the undoubted quality he possesses, despite the frailty of his body, was exemplified by two goals of pure class.
Sturridge’s brace turned the tie around
After 25 minutes Joe Allen spotted his forward dart and sprayed a well-weighted pass towards the England striker. Despite a poor first touch, Sturridge reacted quickly and bore down on Steven Caulker in the Saints’ defence. A swivel of the hips opened up just sufficient space for a perfectly judged finish into the corner of the net to bring his side level.
Four minutes later the comeback was complete. As Liverpool looked to work the ball towards the right flank, Emre Can neatly cut back inside instead. An exquisitely curled cross with the outside of his right foot into the box was met first time by Sturridge to put the Reds into the lead.
Origi added the third
What a turnaround for Klopp's men and it became even better almost on half-time. After the home side failed to fully clear a corner, the ball fell to Alberto Moreno on the edge of the box and his powerful shot was ‘feathered’ in by Belgian international Divock Origi. Saints exposed at the back
The second-half never looked like promising a Saints' comeback, although they pushed on looking for the goal that might give them a way back into the tie. Sadly for home fans that approach left them exposed on the break and Origi grabbed his second as a result. Clearly growing in confidence, the pacy striker raced on to a through ball and confidently smashed his right-foot shot high into the net.
Jordon Ibe had replaced Sturridge before the hour mark and the promising youngster not only provided the through ball for Origi’s second goal, but got in on the scoring himself. He added the fifth, chesting a Moreno cross down before firing home.
Origi completed his hat-trick late on to claim the match ball with a neat header as the Saints’ defence became threadbare. Contrasting fortunes for the managers
Klopp's men will be pleased to have built on the early confidence that the German manager seems to have instilled in his side. Conversely, Ronald Koeman will have been disappointed by Southampton’s poor display especially defensively, after a hugely promising start. He had been looking for a response after their 3-1 defeat at Manchester City at the weekend, but they faded as the game wore on.
Boos for Saints’ old boys
Both of the Southampton old boys in the Liverpool starting XI Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana were rather predictably booed whenever they touched the ball during the match. Yet that didn't seem to affect their performances unduly as the Reds' season continues to gain momentum.
The semi-final draw kept the two Merseyside rivals apart, leaving the tantalising possibility open for Everton and Liverpool to meet in the final at Wembley in the New Year. The last-four pairings will be:
Everton v Man City (first leg at Goodison Park)
Stoke City v Liverpool (first leg at the Britannia Stadium) #Football