London Saints

Liverpool Away FA Cup 5th Round Lost 3 – 0

It goes without saying that Lumley got a cup outing at Liverpool and, as in previous rounds, Manager Martin opted for just one of Bednarek and Harwood-Bellis (Bednarek chosen), so with Stephens in the middle, Bree came in a right back, giving Walker-Peters a rare rest. It may have been Anfield, but Saints still tried to play out from the back; it scares the pants off the fans, but here there were plenty of positives as, when the midfield got to go forward, there was the pace of Edozie, Mara and Sulemana to worry the Premier League side. Mara had the ball in the net very early on but was offside – a disconcerting VAR-dependant wait for the flag causing unnecessary excitement in the away end. Aribo’s forward progress set up Mara for a shot well saved by Kelleher while Sulemana came even closer with a shot that hit the outside of the post; all in all, Saints had a number of very presentable chances in the opening 15 minutes. There were some dodgy moments relieved by poor home finishing but the game was very much in the balance until Koumas sidestepped Stephens and wrongfooted Lumley with a shot inside the near post just before the break. It was a very inexperienced Liverpool side that we were up against, evidenced by all the unfamiliar names and impossibly high squad numbers, but there were still many who had been round the block once or twice – including Van Dijk, although he failed to appear for the second half. On 48 Saints matched their positive beginning to the opening period by going close from a cross by Edozie that should really have been finished by Mara (who failed to get a touch) and Sulemana (who failed to beat Kelleher). Southampton’s first change came just before the hour when Walker-Peters came on in an apparent bid to go for the win… but a second change at the same time saw Adam Armstrong replacing Sulemana who, true to form, immediately disappeared down the tunnel – this time he had every right to be upset as he was surely the biggest threat to the Reds? Even without the Ghanaian, Saints should still have levelled but Charles panicked over the best opportunity of all – and, really, there were to be no more after further debateable changes. Soon after, new sub Smallbone gave the ball away and Danns, on for Koumas, finished nicely. 2-0s was a misleading scoreline and, looking at the opposition line-up, Saints ought to have been progressing. In the end they wound up three adrift after Aribo lost the ball near the corner and when Lumley pushed away Bradley’s shot, Danns was on hand to add his second. Once again Saints were left to lick their wounds, a very real one being an injury to Walker-Peters that will cause him to miss his first League action of the season.

Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:

7. Joe Aribo. We’ll forgive him for the slip that led to an 88th minute Liverpool goal. Instead, think of what might have been had his teammates taken advantage of the openings he created.

20. Kameldeen Sulemana. Yes, he should have scored, but he certainly had his opponents worried right from the start.

23. Sammy Edozie. The only one of three hard running forwards not to be guilty of a missed chance.

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