Darwin Nunez brace leads Liverpool to victory over Southampton

Darwin Nunez scored two goals as Liverpool secured a confident 3-1 victory over Southampton at Anfield on Saturday.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring for Liverpool in the sixth minute, before Southampton levelled through a header from Che Adams in the ninth minute.

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Striker Nunez found the back of the net on a perfectly timed through run to connect with the ball from Harvey Elliott's pass and added another just before half-time as Liverpool cemented their lead.

The victory took Liverpool into sixth place in the league standings on 22 points after 14 matches although Brighton & Hove Albion can climb back above them when they play Aston Villa on Sunday.

Southampton are 19th on 12 points after 15 games.

Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring for Liverpool.
Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Firmino, who this week was left out of Brazil's squad for the World Cup, put Liverpool in front in the sixth minute by glancing an Andy Robertson free kick into the net.

Moments later Southampton replied with a similar effort, Adams rising to head in James Ward-Prowse's set-piece delivery and score the club's first goal under new manager Nathan Jones.

Uruguay international Nunez restored Liverpool's lead in the 21st minute by volleying home a cross from 19-year-old midfielder Harvey Elliot.

The striker, who Liverpool signed for a total of $98.34 million from Benfica in June, grabbed his second goal three minutes before half time, meeting another cross from Robertson from close range.

Nunez was a handful for Southampton all afternoon, causing chaos in the air every time Liverpool sent a ball into the box and linking up well with his team mates, conjuring up an outrageous backheel to play in Firmino although the Brazilian was thwarted by Southampton keeper Gavin Bazunu.

The second half lacked the frenetic nature of the first although Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson had to make two good saves to preserve his side's two-goal cushion while Mohamed Salah spurned a great chance when he robbed possession and raced free into the area only to miscontrol the ball.

Liverpool had been in inconsistent form heading into the match, losing to Leeds United and Nottingham Forest but beating Tottenham Hotspur in their last league outing before scraping past Derby County on penalties in the League Cup on Wednesday.

Southampton were playing their first match under Jones, whom the club poached from second-tier Luton Town after sacking Ralph Hasenhuttl following Sunday's 4-1 home loss to Newcastle United, their eighth league defeat of the season.

The visitors showed some fight in the second half but Jones will have plenty of work to do when the season resumes in late December if he is to steer the team away from the relegation zone.

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp was serving a one-match touchline ban for getting sent off in the win over Manchester City last month but at full-time he came out on to the pitch to salute the home fans.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.