Saints edged out by Liverpool

By SFC Media Sat 17 Aug Saints v Liverpool
Photo by Matt Watson | Nathan Redmond
Sat 17 Aug 3PM
Premier League
Southampton
1
Liverpool
2
Ings [83']
Mané [45+1'] Firmino [71']
Romeu (36') Djenepo (84')
Alexander-Arnold (79')
Referee: Andre Marriner | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,712

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl had called for a reaction from his team against Liverpool, following their opening-day defeat at Burnley. He duly got it, but what he didn’t get, unfortunately, was the result to go with it.

As they had done at St Mary’s last season, Saints caused some significant problems for Jürgen Klopp’s team, but once again were left to reflect on what might have been as the full-time whistle went.

Sadio Mané’s brilliant effort in added time at the end of the first half against his former club had the hosts cruelly behind at the break, before Roberto Firmino’s goal on 71 minutes doubled the lead.

Despite a late charge that saw Danny Ings net against his former club, Saints couldn't quite overcome the deficit.

Hasenhüttl made two changes from the side that had lost 3-0 at Burnley, with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg having recovered from illness to retake the captain’s armband, while Maya Yoshida was also restored to the team.

The changes meant Jack Stephens missed out altogether, with new signing Kevin Danso taking a place on the bench, while Ings was also among the substitutes against his old side.

As so often seems to be the case between these two teams at St Mary’s, it was a pulsating game from the off.

Liverpool, three days on from their Super Cup win over Chelsea, in Istanbul, looked keen to prove in the early stages that there was no issue over tiredness, and they fashioned the first opportunity of the game after three minutes, when James Milner took a flick from Mané and drove towards the edge of the D, with his low shot deflecting off Yoshida, but spinning fortunately into the arms of Angus Gunn.

James Ward-Prowse almost opens the scoring as he closes down Adrián

If fatigue had been one question mark around the visitors coming into this game, so too was their goalkeeping situation, with fears that Alisson’s back-up, Adrián, wouldn’t be fit.

As it was, despite being hurt by a pitch invader during the Super Cup celebrations, Liverpool’s second choice did mark the starting line-up.

He was nearly caught out on eight minutes, though, as he was a little too casual over a clearance, allowing James Ward-Prowse to charge him down. The Saints midfielder’s outstretched left leg made contact with the ball after Adrián struck it, but it unfortunately cannoned wide, rather than into the net.

Still, it sparked a vibrant spell from the hosts, who looked a regular threat going forward.

Nathan Redmond’s clever ball from deep on the left sought out home debutant Ché Adams in between centre-backs Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk, but the latter was able to do just enough to get across and deter him as he went to control and shoot.

The 18th minute saw a poignant round of applause from all areas of the ground for long-time Southampton PA announcer Justin Gladdis, who had passed away suddenly just over a week earlier. It almost brought a goal too, as Adams’s half-volley back across the face of goal from a corner was diverted just wide by Yoshida.

Maya Yoshida sees his header saved brilliantly by Adrián

Yoshida was at the heart of things again shortly after, coming so close to the opener, as he rose six yards out to meet Ward-Prowse’s corner, only for Adrián to make a brilliant save in response.

Yan Valery then saw a low shot blocked by van Dijk after working space in the box, while Mohamed Salah sliced wide from a tight angle at the other end.

After Oriol Romeu was shown a yellow card for a slide tackle on Andy Robertson, Saints created another big chance.

Again, it came via a Ward-Prowse delivery – on this occasion a first-time ball from a deep position on the right – with the cross finding Adams in a great position, only for his powerful header to fly just over.

It was Saints who had enjoyed the better of the half, but, then, as the game ticked into added time, Liverpool struck a cruel blow.

An intricate series of passes just to the left of Southampton’s area ended with Milner sliding a ball into Mané, and he quickly worked it onto his right foot before sending a stunning, curling strike from 18 yards just inside the far post.

Sadio Mané's stunning shot beats Angus Gunn

It could have got worse for Saints five minutes into the second half, but Salah’s free-kick from 20 yards, after Romeu was judged to have fouled Matip, slammed into the wall.

Saints then went back on the front foot, with Højbjerg seeing a shot from just outside the area deflect over, while, at the other end, a Milner shot from the edge of the box sliced inches wide of the post after going through a crowd of bodies.

There was a big scare for Saints in the 56th minute, as Salah got clear down the inside-right and drove towards goal, but Gunn did a great job to save with his feet as the Liverpool forward attempted to open his body and plant a left-footed shot into the far corner.

With Liverpool beginning to exert an increasing amount of control, Hasenhüttl made his first change, on 64 minutes, as Ings replaced Romeu.

It was a positive move, but still Liverpool pushed.

They should have made it 2-0 in the 65th minute, as Georginio Wijnaldum’s through-ball found Mané down the left, with his first-time pass into the area picking out Firmino, but he put his low shot wide of the far post with only Gunn to beat.

Danny Ings goes close with a shot from distance against his former club

It was then time for Ings to come to the fore.

Receiving the ball 25 yards out, he showed a great touch to elude the sliding Milner, before firing a fierce, left-footed strike inches over the bar.

Hasenhüttl then made his next change, as Stuart Armstrong came on in place of Adams, but not long after that he saw his side fall two behind.

Jan Bednarek lost the ball out near the touchline to Mané, who quickly moved it infield to Firmino. He, in turn, skipped past Jannik Vestergaard and then dragged a low shot from 18 yards back across Gunn and into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

The Saints keeper then had to make two fine saves from Mané and Robertson in quick succession, while Hasenhüttl sent Moussa Djenepo on for his debut in place of Ryan Bertrand.

Hopes of a comeback were nearly sparked on 80 minutes when Matip went close to turning Valery's low cross past his own keeper, but Adrián got down well at his near post to turn it wide.

He was his own worst enemy three minutes later, though, as he gifted Saints a goal. The keeper had received the ball in his six-yard box and looked to play a pass around Ings, only to make a complete mess of it, knocking it straight to the striker, who rolled it immediately back past him and into the net.

Ings perhaps should have then completed a spectacular recovery moments later, but it wasn't to be, as he didn't make enough contact from six yards after being picked out by Valery's low cross, watching as the ball flew just wide of the far post.

Today's match sponsor: Virgin Media
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Liverpool
  • Possession (%)
    36
    64
  • Shots
    14
    15
  • Shots on target
    3
    6
  • Corners
    5
    9
  • Passes Complete
    192
    414

Southampton

28
Angus Gunn (GK)
3
Maya Yoshida
4
Jannik Vestergaard
35
Jan Bednarek
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
43
Yan Valery
16
James Ward-Prowse
21
Ryan Bertrand
Moussa Djenepo (77′)
14
Oriol Romeu
Danny Ings (64′)
22
Nathan Redmond
10
Che Adams
Stuart Armstrong (68′)
38
Kevin Danso
17
Stuart Armstrong
9
Danny Ings
2
Cédric Soares
12
Moussa Djenepo
20
Michael Obafemi
44
Fraser Forster

Liverpool

13
Adrián (GK)
4
Virgil van Dijk
26
Andrew Robertson
32
Joel Matip
66
Trent Alexander-Arnold
5
Georginio Wijnaldum
7
James Milner (C)
Fabinho (74′)
15
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Jordan Henderson (89′)
11
Mohamed Salah
Divock Origi (79′)
9
Roberto Firmino
10
Sadio Mané
27
Divock Origi
3
Fabinho
12
Joseph Gomez
23
Xherdan Shaqiri
14
Jordan Henderson
22
Andy Lonergan
20
Adam Lallana
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