It was a fantastic day for Liverpool on the south coast, with their 2-0 win against Southampton moving them to within two points of second place.
Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah struck their 20th and 29th goals of the season respectively in the first half, providing the assist for each other too, to close the gap on Manchester United after their 1-0 loss at Newcastle.
It was a hugely impressive showing from Jurgen Klopp’s side, who were rarely troubled by Southampton, as they plunged back into the Premier League relegation zone.
While they are looking to move up the table and finish as high as possible, the victory restores their breathing space over Tottenham and Chelsea, though the latter are yet to play this weekend.
And the Reds are a massive nine points ahead of Arsenal in sixth position, all but ending their chances of making the Champions League.
Having conceded two sloppy penalties against Spurs last week, Liverpool’s defence will no doubt be extra delighted they were able to hold firm and deny a desperate Southampton.
Loris Karius got a much-needed clean sheet amidst all the doubts about his ability to be the Reds’ number one goalkeeper, and made a couple of impressive saves.
But no one will be more pleased than Virgil Van Dijk.
The Dutchman was returning to St. Mary’s for the first time since completing his £75m move to Anfield and becoming the most expensive defender in the history of football.
Given his summer transfer requests and consequent attitude and performances for the Saints, he was booed throughout by the home crowd, but the victory will undoubtedly mean he isn’t bothered by that one bit.
Following the win, Klopp revealed that he’d in fact had a chat with Van Dijk earlier in the week, in order to make sure he was in the right mental state to return to such a hostile atmosphere.
And the Liverpool boss praised his performance and how he handled the tough situation.
“It’s question number five on him!” Klopp joked in his post-match press conference. “It could have been a little bit the other way around after a game like this and spoken in a different way.
“But yes, he did really well, he coped with the situation fantastic.
“We had a little talk, I asked ‘what do you think?’ and he said ‘I’m fine boss’, I don’t want to make him nervous if he isn’t nervous but I understand everything in football.
“The crowd is there to make life difficult for the opponent, it was not too difficult from this point of view and I’m happy about it.”
Van Dijk certainly had the last laugh over his former employers, who are now right back in the depths of a relegation scrap thanks to Klopp’s side.