Daniel Sturridge shines as Liverpool hit Southampton for six

Jurgen Klopp made six changes but his team still surged into League Cup last four

Southampton 1 Liverpool 6

It has taken Jürgen Klopp less than eight weeks to restore all the vim and verve that, only two seasons ago, almost propelled Liverpool to the Premier League title. This was a scorching of Southampton, a display so ruthless that it was hard not to feel for Ronald Koeman, shoulders hunched in his dug-out, as the visitors plundered so mercilessly.

All six of their shots on target here yielded reward though, a slow start aside, it was their energy that eclipsed the hosts. None personified that more than Adam Lallana, a blur in their midfield, though there was also a welcome double from Daniel Sturridge and a fine hat-trick from Divock Origi to celebrate. While the Saints lick their wounds, Klopp's protracted honeymoon period will surely now extend into the new year fuelled by thoughts of Wembley. The eight-time winners were irrepressible.

This had always promised to be a contest brimming with attacking intent, though the manner in which the occasion thrilled still took the breath away. If there had been an apparent element of risk to Klopp’s selection – the inclusion of Sturridge for a first start under the manager aside – given how eager their hosts were to progress in this competition, then the confidence flowing through any lineup sent out by the German at present was still very much in evidence.

The visitors might have been overwhelmed by Southampton's eager opening, when Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mané threatened to run riot. Instead they recovered from an early setback to impose authority of their own. By the break they seemed out of sight.

Klopp was not the only manager in attendance purring at the attacking bite offered by the visitors. Roy Hodgson had taken his seat in the stand here hoping to witness Sturridge's restoration as a force. For a while the striker laboured, ring-rusty and marginally off the pace on his first start since early October, yet he quickly found his rhythm.

In truth, such was the quality of the delivery, any forward might have thrived. The game had edged beyond the halfway point of the first period when Joe Allen delivered an exquisite pass from the right for Sturridge to collect in the centre. An initial heavy touch appeared to take him too wide, but he stayed calm to recover his poise and tease space from a hesitant Steven Caulker. The finish, skimmed left-footed across Maarten Stekelenburg and into the far corner, was a masterclass in accuracy.

That checked the home side's upbeat tempo, their back-line suddenly wary, though all semblance of defensive surety had evaporated within minutes. Lallana, his every touch booed raucously as he reminded those on the south coast of his prowess, did well to claim possession of an awkwardly bouncing ball and laid off for Emre Can at his side. Jordy Clasie, a tenacious snarler of a midfielder, darted in to intercept only for Can to turn inside with ease and clip a sumptuous diagonal pass with the outside of his right boot beyond Caulker and Cédric. Sturridge, darting unnoticed away from the defenders, finished first-time through the startled Stekelenburg and, for the first time in 647 days, he had a first–half double to celebrate.

The sense of shock amid the home ranks was palpable, their initial urgency that had delivered a lead after 41 seconds long since forgotten. That advantage had been gained back when Tadic was tormenting Connor Randall, a 20-year-old on only his second Liverpool appearance and prone at right-back, at will. The winger had left his marker dizzied in that opening exchange before Ryan Bertrand clipped over a fine cross which Mané, rising above Alberto Moreno, planted forcefully beyond Adam Bogdan. Had Victor Wanyama converted a similar opportunity moments later then, perhaps, Liverpool might have wilted. Instead they first took stock and, then, control.

They had a third to celebrate before half-time, Moreno collecting a corner on the edge of the area to crunch a low shot through a clutch of bodies and towards the near-post where Origi – whose own movement had impressed – applied a faint if significant touch to guide the ball beyond the goalkeeper. That was his first Liverpool goal, with his second far more emphatic: a viciously lashed shot from just inside the area up and beyond Stekelenburg from Jordon Ibe’s slid pass to stifle any vague hopes of a comeback.

As it was, they ended even more exposed. Ibe duly took advantage, collecting Moreno's centre on his chest before converting a fifth, with Brad Smith crossing for Origi to complete the scoring late on.

This was a thrashing. Liverpool are a team revived.

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