Southampton 1-3 Liverpool: 5 Talking Points, Premier League 2018/19
Liverpool continued their quest for their maiden Premier League title under Jurgen Klopp, after a remarkable 3-1 win over Southampton. The win takes Liverpool to the top of the table, with City face Brighton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup this weekend.
Southampton took the lead in the nineth minute after Shane Long slotted past Alisson, following Matip's failure to win the aerial duel against Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Their counter press was on point, which resulted in Liverpool conceding possession in poor fashion.
Klopp’s side equalized nine minutes from the interval as Naby Keita headed the ball past Angus Gunn, scoring his first goal for Liverpool.
The Second half started in same fashion as the first where Liverpool committed far too many errors in possession, only to be saved by some lacklustre decision making by Southampton in the final third. Liverpool took the lead in the 80th minute as Mohamed Salah’s neat finish rounded off a fantastic counter-attacking move from a Southampton corner.
Jordan Henderson’s goal, four minutes from time, settled the score as Liverpool recovered from a pale start to secure a well-earned victory. Without wasting any time, let us take a look at the five talking points from Friday night’s clash at St.Mary’s.
#5 Southampton’s plan works to full effect until a late charge from the visitors
Southampton would feel hard done as the scoreline did not reflect the true story of the game. The hosts started with a back three of Bednarek, Yoshida and Vestergaard, who were shielded by the midfield duo of Hojbjerg and Romeu.
Ralph Hasenhuttl got his tactics spot on as the ‘Alpine Klopp’ gave Jurgen Klopp a taste of his own medicine. Liverpool were shaken by Southampton’s pressing and committed a flurry of silly errors in vital areas of the pitch. The Saints well-deserved lead in the ninth minute after some shoddy defending from the visitors left Shane Long with acres of space to trap the ball and score.
Along with the midfield duo of Romeu and Hojbjerg, wing-backs Jan Valery and Ryan Bertrand crowded the central areas of the pitch, which did not allow Fabinho and Keita to play their natural game. Southampton’s compact shape forced Liverpool to attack through the wings, where both Alexander-Arnold and Robertson found little joy due to some disciplined defending from the wing-backs.
Whenever Southampton were not in possession, the wing backs were aided by the midfielders, who doubled up on Mane and Salah, which did not allow Liverpool’s wingers to link up with the full backs. A silly mistake resulted in the hosts conceding the equalizer in the 36th minute as they momentarily switched off and allowed Alexander-Arnold to deliver an inch perfect ball for Keita to nod in.
Despite going 1-1 into the break, Southampton were clearly the better side in the first half. The second half started in similar fashion as the hosts looked the more threatening of the two sides. A poorly executed corner in the 80th minute saw Southampton surrender possession and allow Liverpool to break, which resulted in Salah giving The Reds the lead.
As a result of conceding the second goal, Southampton threw more men forward in search of the equalizer. After six minutes, Joel Matip’s defence splitting long pass found Roberto Firmino who in turn assisted Jordan Henderson for the winning goal.
The third goal was a result of the lack of players tracking back. Of which, Henderson was given a free run to tuck in from close range. None of the players got back in time to thwart Henderson’s dash, whose goal sealed the game for the visitors.