Liverpool Home Lost 0 – 2
Rather late in the season Southampton have come up with something of a settled side with Højbjerg for Boufal the only change to the line-up to face Liverpool, complete with the returning Van Dijk (amongst several other apostates). That means no place for Yoshida, with the manager maybe sharing the view that the defender always has a critical mistake in him; unfortunately he’s not alone, and bad signs were there in the early moments when a poor clearance by McCarthy was poorly dealt with by Lemina and then Hoedt was lucky to get away with a poor first touch. It should have been a warning, but wasn’t heeded and on five minutes Hoedt made a complete mess of a long clearance, allowing Salah to get away and set up Firmino for an embarrassingly easy finish. To be fair, Saints responded quite well, exploiting a weakness on the left of the visitors’ defence, but Højbjerg was closed down by Karius before he could pick his spot, and then Ward-Prowse elected for a deliberate header knocked over by the keeper at his near post, when in retrospect better options might have been available to J W-P. With Carrillo doing well with a header at goal, all did not seem lost, but then Liverpool added a second, scored by Salah as his reward for being the only player to anticipate Firmino’s audacious backheel. The body language of Tadić in particular suggested the team were regarding this as a body blow, and surely positive thoughts should have been the coaching team’s message at the break? And maybe they were, but the performance in the second 45 minutes was very disappointing; true, the score remained at 0-2, but that’s down to some profligate finishing and although Saints ended up shading possession overall, it’s hard to recall them mounting any sort of threat when they went forward. The situation wasn’t helped by the ill health of Lemina; the player had required treatment in the first half despite no apparent injury, and then repeatedly went down in the second period, only to be up and running again for a brief while. Whatever was wrong overcame him after 57 minutes, but he came out of the game as our best player.
LSSC Man of the Match: Mario Lemina, as above. Unfortunately this has not gone unnoticed by Liverpool’s ‘Twitterati,’ and, even more unfortunately, by Herr Klopp.