Liverpool Away Lost 2 – 0
Still no Bertrand to face Liverpool, but a recall for Forster: so much for my theory that FF only plays when Bertrand does… and so much for making McCarthy Man of the Match last time out. Walcott was back up front, and although he didn’t make much of an impact, we need someone experienced in that role, especially for a fixture like this, and Ings may or may not be featuring again this season. Having a goalscorer like Ings would have been welcome to finish a move down the right started by Walcott and continued by Tella but foiled by alert keeping by Becker to block Adams. Almost immediately play switched to the other end and Walker Peters was no match for Mané in the air; although it was an untidy effort, it was enough to take the lead after Saints had been matching the outgoing champions (although Jota and Wijnaldum had both come close). Salah somehow managed to over-elaborate an opportunity to double the lead, thwarted in the end by some desperate blocking by Forster and his defenders: again no Sky commentary for me, thank you very much, but my musical accompaniment at this time of the calming sound of Nick Drake seemed so inappropriate. Ralph made his first changes after 65 minutes when Diallo and Obafemi replaced Walcott and Tella. ‘Obie’ seems to have spent his time out gorging on steroids and/or doughnuts – probably not the latter though, judging by a lively contribution that included setting up a chance for Diallo that went straight to Becker. The home keeper had played a key part in preventing Saints taking the lead, but soon he presented Adams with the chance for an equaliser that unfortunately went begging as the striker went for accuracy with his shot, whereas more power was needed to prevent a save that rescued the situation; it didn’t take long for Adams to be replaced after that, and Ché still has to improve his conversion rate if he’s to be a regular in the Premier League. Hopes that Liverpool would succumb to a late, late equaliser as had cost them points in their last home game were dashed when Thiago Alcántara finished well from midfield on the stroke of 90 minutes. All sorts of rubbish have been getting results at Anfield in 2021, even Real Madrid, but the list wasn’t to include Southampton.
LSSC Man of the Match: James Ward-Prowse, who seems to be working better alongside Armstrong than Diallo. There’s a strong case to be made for Forster as well, but that could cause him to be dropped.