English Premier League: Liverpool rout Southampton to maintain pressure on table-topping Chelsea, Arsenal back to winning ways

Diogo Jota's early double set Liverpool on their way to a crushing 4-0 home victory over Southampton to move up to second place in the Premier League standings.

The Portuguese forward steered home Andrew Robertson's cut-back to open the scoring after 97 seconds - the fastest Premier League goal this season - before his tap in following fine work from Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 inside 32 minutes.

Midfielder Thiago Alcantara added to his stunning goal against Porto in the Champions League in midweek with a third five minutes later and Virgil van Dijk helped himself to a fourth against his former club early in the second half.

Diogo Jota scored tho goals for Liverpool
Diogo Jota scored tho goals for Liverpool Photo credit: Getty Images

Jota had a great chance to complete a hat-trick, but could not connect from close range as Liverpool eased to a win that lifts them above champions Manchester City, who play West Ham United on Monday morning (NZ time), onto 28 points, one behind leaders Chelsea.

Southampton had their moments but could not cope defensively and the loss left them 14th on 14 points from 13 games.

"It's always easier when you start well with a goal at home," Jota tells Sky Sports. "We knew in the past we'd been 2-0 up and not won the game but we did today and that's important.

"I take advantage of playing for a good team. Fortunately for me I can score goals and hopefully keep doing it."

Liverpool came into the contest having responded brilliantly to losing their unbeaten league record this season at West Ham before the international break, with a 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal at Anfield last weekend.

Against the Saints it was clear right from the first whistle that the hosts were in the mood for more goals, with Jota on hand to set the ball rolling after a swift counter.

Southampton had a couple of openings of their own, with Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson forced into a fine save to deny Armando Broja, before Jota effectively ended the match as a contest to take his tally to seven league goals for the season.

The strike that took Thiago's tally to two in the space of four days was not as aesthetically pleasing as the goal against Porto, with his effort taking a big deflection before finding the net this time around.

After the break, it was just a matter of how many more Liverpool would score, with Van Dijk showing the clinical finishing of a striker from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner when volleying home the fourth.

Liverpool then took their foot off the gas with the job done. Nonetheless, they have now scored 39 league goals this season, nine more than any other Premier League team - ominous form as they prepare for a busy December schedule. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Gabriel Martinelli celebrates with teammates Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes of Arsenal after scoring their team's second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on November 27, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Gunners return to form, Gerrard continues Villa's revival 

Elsewhere, Arsenal returned to winning ways after last weekend's thumping at the hands of Liverpool.

The Gunners topped bottom-of-the-table Newcastle 2-0 in London thanks to goals from Bukayo Sako and Gabriel Martinelli.

Aston Villa continued their resurgence under new manager Steven Gerrard claiming a second consecutive Premier League victory by beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

Villa moved up to 11th in the standings, level with 10th-placed Palace on 16 points. The defeat was Patrick Vieira's first at home since being appointed Palace manager and their first since losing at Liverpool in September.

Norwich and Wolves shared a point each thanks to a goalless draw at Carrow Road