Liverpool strengthened their title challenge as a clinical victory over Southampton lifted them into second in the Premier League table.

Striker Luis Suarez scored his first goal for six games with a low finish from just inside the penalty area.

Southampton's Adam Lallana was denied an equaliser by a post before Reds substitute Raheem Sterling made it 2-0.

Liverpool's 2014 league record

Liverpool, as well as Chelsea, remain unbeaten in the Premier League in 2014. Seven of their nine games have ended in victory, with 23 points from a possible 27

The teenager netted with his first touch after Suarez's cross, and Steven Gerrard added the third with a penalty.

The spot-kick was awarded after the tireless Suarez, making his 100th Premier League appearance, was hauled down by Jose Fonte deep in stoppage time.

With Arsenal losing earlier at Stoke and Manchester City not playing, Liverpool are now table-topping Chelsea's closest rivals.

Liverpool were outstanding - Rodgers

The Reds head into a two-week break four points behind Jose Mourinho's leaders with 10 games remaining.

But they leapfrog Arsenal because of a superior goal difference and, just as importantly, are nine points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham in the race for Champions League qualification.

Manager Brendan Rodgers will be just as pleased with a clean sheet after his side conceded five goals in their previous two games.

Liverpool remain unbeaten in the top flight in 2014, with seven wins in nine games.

They arrived at St Mary's Stadium having scored in their previous 17 league games, and required just 16 minutes to extend that run to 18.

Steven Gerrard scores at Southampton

Steven Gerrard has scored eight goals in 25 Premier League games this season

The goal came after a powerful run by Daniel Sturridge following a Liverpool throw-in, with Fonte diverting the ball into the path of Suarez, who finished clinically.

In a game that featured nine players called up for England duty against Denmark, Southampton spent the remainder of the first half testing the visitors' defence.

Lallana was denied by a post after the Reds had failed to deal with Jay Rodriguez's looping cross, while French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin fired narrowly over with a shot on the turn.

Rodriguez was then left frustrated by Simon Mignolet's diving save before Sterling put the game beyond the hosts 80 seconds after replacing Philippe Coutinho.

Result unfair on Southampton - Pochettino

Watched by England boss Roy Hodgson, Sterling kept his composure after Suarez turned provider, beating Dejan Lovren before cutting the ball back into the path of his teenage team-mate.

And Liverpool fans were singing "We're going to win the league" when Gerrard made it 3-0 in stoppage time after Fonte's lunge on Suarez.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino:

"I thought 3-0 wasn't a fair result. Liverpool were a lot more clinical than we were in front of goal.

"But we had some very good chances that wouldn't go in for us.

"We just need to keep on working. We're going to be without many players who are going to be away on international duty.

"When they come back on Thursday and Friday, we'll be more than ready for the next game."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Southampton

  • 31 Boruc
  • 22 Chambers
  • 23 Shaw
  • 18 Cork (Wanyama - 77' Booked )
  • 06 Fonte
  • 05 Lovren
  • 08 Davis (Ramírez - 45' )
  • 04 Schneiderlin
  • 07 Lambert (Gallagher - 76' )
  • 09 Rodriguez
  • 20 Lallana

Substitutes

  • 02 Clyne
  • 03 Yoshida
  • 10 Ramírez
  • 12 Wanyama
  • 16 Ward-Prowse
  • 25 Gazzaniga
  • 40 Gallagher

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 38 Flanagan
  • 02 Johnson
  • 08 Gerrard Booked
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 05 Agger
  • 14 Henderson Booked
  • 10 Coutinho (Sterling - 57' )
  • 07 Suarez
  • 15 Sturridge (Iago Aspas - 85' )
  • 24 Allen

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 04 K Touré
  • 09 Iago Aspas
  • 12 Moses
  • 20 Cissokho
  • 31 Sterling
  • 53 J. Teixeira
Ref: Lee Probert
Att: 31,659

Match Stats

Shots

13 12

On target

2 5

Corners

3 6

Fouls

10 6

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Southampton 0, Liverpool 3.

90:00 +5:10 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Southampton 0, Liverpool 3.

90:00 +4:09 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southampton 0, Liverpool 3. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top right corner.

90:00 +3:32

Penalty conceded by Jose Fonte (Southampton) after a foul in the penalty area.

90:00 +3:32

Penalty Liverpool. Luis Suarez draws a foul in the penalty area.

90:00 +2:26

Attempt blocked. Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

90:00 +1:27

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).

90:00 +1:27

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:38

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).

90:00 +0:38

Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

89:10

Foul by Dejan Lovren (Southampton).

89:10

Iago Aspas (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:47 Booking

Booking Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

85:43

Adam Lallana (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:43

Foul by Steven Gerrard (Liverpool).

84:54 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Iago Aspas replaces Daniel Sturridge.

83:08 Booking

Booking Victor Wanyama (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

82:59

Foul by Victor Wanyama (Southampton).

82:59

Luis Suarez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:21

Sam Gallagher (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

81:21

Foul by Daniel Agger (Liverpool).

79:54

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Jon Flanagan.

77:28

Attempt missed. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Luke Shaw.

76:48

Foul by Victor Wanyama (Southampton).

76:48

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:07 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Victor Wanyama replaces Jack Cork.

76:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Sam Gallagher replaces Rickie Lambert.

74:38

Attempt missed. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

73:43

Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a corner.

73:07

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Artur Boruc.

72:37

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Artur Boruc.

72:31

Attempt saved. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

71:42

Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Joe Allen.

71:05

Jack Cork (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

71:05

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

69:11 Booking

Booking Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

68:55

Luke Shaw (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

68:55

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

68:07

Attempt missed. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Suarez.

60:10

Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

60:10

Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

57:50 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southampton 0, Liverpool 2. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luis Suarez.

56:49

Offside, Southampton. Jack Cork tries a through ball, but Jay Rodriguez is caught offside.

56:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Raheem Sterling replaces Philippe Coutinho.

55:22

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.

53:22

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).

53:22

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

52:19

Jack Cork (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:19

Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool).

48:58

Attempt saved. Adam Lallana (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Rickie Lambert.

48:37

Attempt blocked. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

46:57

Attempt blocked. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Lallana.

46:07

Attempt missed. Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Adam Lallana with a cross following a corner.

45:45

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

45:12

Attempt blocked. Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Lallana.

45:00

Second Half begins Southampton 0, Liverpool 1.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Gastón Ramírez replaces Steven Davis.

45:00 +2:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Southampton 0, Liverpool 1.

45:00 +1:35

Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton).

45:00 +1:35

Jon Flanagan (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

44:53

Foul by Jay Rodriguez (Southampton).

44:53

Daniel Agger (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

42:33

Attempt saved. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luke Shaw with a cross.

38:12

Attempt missed. Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Adam Lallana.

36:48

Attempt saved. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Daniel Sturridge.

33:33

Attempt missed. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Rickie Lambert.

32:43

Attempt missed. Adam Lallana (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Luke Shaw with a cross.

31:07

Adam Lallana (Southampton) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Rickie Lambert with a headed pass.

29:27

Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Steven Davis with a cross following a corner.

29:00

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Glen Johnson.

28:02

Offside, Liverpool. Martin Skrtel tries a through ball, but Luis Suarez is caught offside.

25:15

Attempt missed. Rickie Lambert (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Luke Shaw with a cross.

21:07

Attempt missed. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

20:02

Luis Suarez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

20:02

Foul by Jack Cork (Southampton).

18:11

Offside, Southampton. Jose Fonte tries a through ball, but Jay Rodriguez is caught offside.

15:45 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southampton 0, Liverpool 1. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

9:59

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

9:12

Delay in match Luke Shaw (Southampton) because of an injury.

8:07

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

7:42

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Morgan Schneiderlin.

6:56

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Adam Lallana.

6:01

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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