Liverpool sweep past Southampton for sixth straight Premier League win

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Liverpool sweep past Southampton for sixth straight Premier League win

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool kept up their perfect record in the Premier League with a sixth straight victory on Saturday after beating Southampton 3-0 at Anfield.
Switzerland international Xherdhan Shaqiri marked his first start for the club with a role in two first-half goals.
His deflected cross was turned in by Wesley Hoedt for the opener and a brilliant curling free-kick against the crossbar presented Mohamed Salah with a simple close-range effort for the third.
Either side of those goals, Joel Matip scored his first at Anfield as Southampton were pulled apart by a Liverpool side still nowhere near top gear.
Juergen Klopp’s team are top with 18 points though Chelsea can go level on points if they win at West Ham on Sunday.
Liverpool still have some way to go to match the club’s best start to a campaign, though, as the 1990-91 side won 10 successive competitive matches.
Klopp changed his system to accommodate Shaqiri, switching to 4-2-3-1 with Salah moved to the center and Shaqiri playing behind.
In the 10th minute Shaqiri cut in from the left to race onto Sadio Mane’s perfectly-weighted throughball, hitting a right-footed shot off Shane Long onto Hoedt with scrambling goalkeeper Alex McCarthy unable to keep it out.
Salah was denied by a superbly timed block from Cedric Soares after combining with Roberto Firmino but that led to the second goal as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner was powerfully headed home by Matip, making his first start since March 31.
Salah avoided the worst drought of his short Liverpool career in first-half added time thanks to his anticipation and no shortage of Shaqiri brilliance, netting his 30th goal in his last 31 Anfield appearances.
He was denied a second for offside in the 89th minute after Mario Lamina had cleared James Milner’s shot off the line.
The only downside to the afternoon was the departure of Virgil van Dijk with a bruised rib.
For Southampton it was a third loss in six league matches.


Petra Kvitova makes her point with semifinal against Hsieh Su-wei next up

Updated 21 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova makes her point with semifinal against Hsieh Su-wei next up

  • World No. 4 looked close to her best as she demolished Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0 at the Aviation Club.
  • Czech set to face Hsieh Su-wei in tough last-four battle.

LONDON: Petra Kvitova has been her own worst critic so far this week, but even she allowed herself a smile after the Czech finally illustrated she is a contender for the the title.
The world No. 4 beat Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0 with the sort of display that was the polar opposite of her sluggish, flat displays earlier in the week.
Coming into the quarterfinal Kvitova looked anything but possible champion material. She was taken all the way by both Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady and admitted all was not well with her game.


On Center Court against Kuzmova, however, the 28-year-old looked more like the player who reached last month’s Australian Open final and a two-time Wimbledon champion. And after she had wrapped up the match, completed in just 62 minutes, Kvitova admitted she was finally feeling in good form.
“I am pleased. Definitely more than those two matches before,” she said.
“I didn’t give her any, like, time to do her job, maybe turn the match on her way.”
Having spent more than five hours on court in the first two rounds there was was finally some urgency about Kvitova. She admitted she came into the tournament undercooked and arrived in the last-eight tired. But against Kuzmova she dominated from the start and once she secured the first set — breaking in the decisive 10th game — there was only going to be one winner.
“Yeah, I was up pretty quickly, but I lost those games (in the first set),” Kvitova said.
“It was about that game when she was serving for five-all. She played the two double-faults. From that game, I think I was really fired up. “Even in the first game of the second set, I was already facing breakpoints again, which I didn’t want to. But it was probably the key game of the second set.”
Kvitova said she felt her game was on the rise again after losing the Australian Open final to Naomi Osaka and winning just one match a week later in Russia.
“Today was the first day of the better days on the court,” she said.
“It’s been tough since I came from Australia and St. Petersburg.
“I’m glad that it’s on the way up.”


Next up for her is a semifinal clash against Hsieh Su-wei. The world No. 31 from Taiwan won the last six games to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
Kvitova has won all four of her meetings against Hsieh, most recently at the Sydney International in January. But that will count for little and on current form Hsieh looks like she will take some beating, having staged a remarkable fightback to beat another Czech.
Pliskova had looked in command serving for the set at 5-1 and then 5-3.
The persistent Hsieh kept up the pressure, narrowing the gap and levelling with a second straight break at five-all.
Hsieh then held for 6-5 and clinched the upset a game later on a second match point after two hours.
“I’m so excited, I was screaming like a baby when I won,” Hsieh said. “It was a tough comeback.”
“She had a lot of aces (nine), I’m just happy I was able to make it back.”