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Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Diouf inspires Liverpool
Liverpool's El-Hadji Diouf moves away from Southampton's Paul Williams
El-Hadji Diouf had another influential game
Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

El-Hadji Diouf guided Liverpool to the top of the Premiership table as the Senegalese striker scored his first goals for his new club in a comfortable win over Southampton.

After performing impressively in last weekend's win over Aston Villa, Diouf turned in another impressive performance that allied a prodigious work ethic with great skill and pace.

Liverpool's other most impressive player Danny Murphy - booed off the pitch against Southampton last season - capped a fine performance by scoring from the penalty spot in the game's closing stages.


Diouf is only 21 and there's so much more to come
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier

Once Diouf had given Gerard Houllier's side a third-minute lead, Gordon Strachan's team never looked capable of repeating last season's success when they took four points off Liverpool.

After two games Liverpool now lead the table, two points ahead of the chasing pack.

Diouf's first goal followed a break down the left by Emile Heskey, who took advantage of some sloppy work by Paul Telfer to surge away and fire in a fierce cross that the Senegalese striker tucked away.

His second goal also owed much to Heskey, who flicked on Abel Xavier's long throw, which Diouf pounced on at the far post in the second half's opening minutes.

When he was substituted 10 minutes from the end Diouf was given a huge ovation by the Anfield crowd.

  Key moments
3 mins El-Hadji Diouf scores on his Anfield debut
51 mins Diouf grabs his second goal with a header
90 mins Danny Murphy scores from the penalty spot

After conceding that early goal Southampton recovered themselves enough to ensure Liverpool never enjoyed total mastery of the game.

Southampton's main attacking threat was provided by James Beattie, who was deployed as a lone striker.

On 16 minutes Beattie and Martin Pahars combined neatly to set up Anders Svensson for a snap shot wide of a post.

And on 32 minutes Telfer's ball into the box was met by Beattie, but his flick was not strong enough to worry Jerzy Dudek.

The closest Southamton came to scoring was just after Diouf's second goal when Danny Murphy deflected Jo Tessem's effort on to his own post before the ball drifted away to safety.

Danny Murphy scores Liverpool's third goal against Southampton from the penalty spot
Murphy was a source of ideas for Liverpool

In between those Southampton counter attacks Liverpool continued to threaten, with Murphy frequently to the fore.

Midway through the first half Murphy had curled a free-kick against Paul Jones' left-hand post, with Michael Owen putting in the rebound, only to be ruled offside.

Owen had another quiet game and on 71 minutes he was replaced by John Arne Riise.

Soon after that substitution, Murphy broke clear and fired in a low shot that Jones did well to parry.


From 30 yards out we were toothless, and that's our problem
Southampton manager Gordon Strachan

In the game's closing minutes Murphy rammed home a penalty after Michael Bridges had brought down Bruno Cheyrou.

Vladimir Smicer had a chance to make it four but was bravely denied by Jones.



Liverpool: Dudek, Xavier, Hyypia, Henchoz, Traore, Murphy, Hamann, Gerrard (Cheyrou 85), Heskey, Diouf (Smicer 81), Owen (Riise 72).
Subs Not Used: Kirkland, Carragher.

Southampton: Jones, Delap, Lundekvam (Michael Svensson 44), Williams, Bridge, Telfer, Anders Svensson, Marsden, Fernandes, Pahars (Tessem 57), Beattie.
Subs Not Used: Oakley, Moss, Ormerod.

Booked: Williams.

Attendance: 43,058

Referee: J Winter (Cleveland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Charlie Lambert
"Liverpool coasted through the game"
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"I was convinced Diouf would score today"
Southampton's Claus Lundekvam
"My hamstring is not at its best"
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