Southampton v Liverpool
5th April 2019
Shane Long scored a rare goal, after an impressive build up from Højbjerg and Bertrand
IBO Reporter : Spot51
God, I hate Liverpool.
Admittedly they play good football, their manager has a roguish charm and Liverpool players have done well for me in the Fantasy League. However, they beat Leeds in the 1965 FA cup final before dominating the next quarter century of English football. They won pretty much everything - with their thuggish defenders enjoying plenty of dodgy refereeing decisions. In 1985 they got English clubs (including Saints) banned from Europe and the following year beat us at Wet Fart Lane in the FA semi: and, by breaking Mark Wright’s leg, they effectively handed the Mexico world cup to Maradona!
Last Friday, they turned up at SMS in Imperial purple. With Carragher the Sky match pundit and Virgil as captain, Liverpool played towards the Chapel End. Saints seemed to be set up 3-5-2 but when Liverpool were in possession this quickly became 5-4-1, with Redmond dropping back, leaving Long as the sole striker.
The initial exchanges were nothing special but, as the game settled down, Saints were giving as good as they got. Indeed, Bertie won the first corner when his cross was headed behind. After a period of falling back and booting the ball away, Saints broke away and Bertie again got down the left. His cross found the head of Højbjerg who flicked it to Long. With the calm of a 20-goal-a-season finisher, the Irishman controlled the ball before driving it beyond Alisson: 8m gone and 1-0 Saints.
Our next 2 attacks foundered with JWP caught offside but then Virgil was required to show his quality when Redmond tried to set up Long. Redmond then won another corner but as the ball arrived, PEH couldn’t sort his feet out and the chance was lost.
Gunn was brought into action when Salah’s cross was met by Mané but it was still Saints making the most chances by forcing errors from the visitors. Another lovely cross from Bertie saw Virgil heading over his own bar. From the corner, a Vestergaard header was cleared, but Saints put the ball back into the box, however Valery’s header didn’t trouble Alisson.
Saints kept winning the ball back, but their next lovely move came to naught as Long was caught offside. Up the other end, Valery put Arnold’s cross behind and from Robertson’s corner Salah’s shot was well blocked. JWP hit the post with a right-wing cross shortly after, but Alisson watched it all the way and let it bounce out.
After another bout of defending, Saints broke upfield but PEH’s cross went just beyond Long. At the other end, Liverpool created a difficult chance which Firmino took on, but put wide. On 34m Salah broke forward but was flagged offside. Two minutes later he got away with one and twice Saints failed to clear their lines. Then Arnold sent in another cross and Keita headed it past Gunn to level the scores. Liverpool then enjoyed more pressure with Firmino again shooting wide in added time at the end of the half. HT = 1-1.
Neither side made changes. Valery was very involved at the start of the second period, first tussling with Mané at the back before getting forward and almost finding Redmond. Saints again looked dangerous with first Romeu, then Redmond, winning corners. From the second, Vestergaard headed wide. Then Long took aim from range and sent the ball way over the bar.
Just before the hour, Saints survived a penalty appeal when Keita went over in the box. Mr Tierney didn’t think Maya had fouled him. Herr Klopp then changed the game: bringing on Milner & Henderson for Arnold & Wijnaldum. From then on, Liverpool looked distinctly tougher and Fabinio and Firminio both got shots away, the latter saved by Gunn. Saints responded by bringing on Sims for Long but Liverpool were in the ascendency. Good work by Mané created another chance for Firmino and Saints were now riding their luck.
Saints attacks were becoming rarer and less effective, whilst Liverpool increased the pressure on our defence. We also got some odd decisions from the officials, with Bednarek and Bertie both booked. On 79m Saints got upfield and won a brace of corners with Firmino heading the first out for the second on the right. This wasn’t cleared and Sims got the ball. His attempted shot was blocked and Henderson headed the ball into the stride of Salah. The commentary team had been going on and on about the “Salah goal drought” but, of course, he put an end to that with a superb run and shot that put his side ahead. 1-2.
Ralf took off Vestergaard and Romeu bringing on Austin and Armstrong but to no avail. Within 3 minutes, Firmino set up the winner for Henderson (of all people) who went bonkers in front of the Scouse horde.
With 2m left, Klopp replaced Keita with Lovren. (Boo!) Robertson then brought down Sims earning the Scot a yellow card. JWP’s free-kick was headed out to PEH but the Dane lashed it horribly high above the bar. Henderson and Mané were booked in the 4 added minutes, but couldn’t care less as they had bagged all the points.
Did I mention that I hate Liverpool?
Bertrand is back to his best since returning from injury
Another good game from the increasingly impressive Yan Valery
35 Bednarek - Booked 48'
4 Vestergaard (Austin 83')
14 Romeu (Armstrong 83')
21 Bertrand - Booked 75'
7 Long (Sims 62')
66 Alexander-Arnold (Henderson 59' - Booked 90')
4 van Dijk
26 Robertson - Booked 89'
5 Wijnaldum (Milner 59')
8 Keita (Lovren 88')
11 Salah - Booked 81'
9 Roberto Firmino
10 Mané - Booked 90'
- Long 9'
- Keita 36'
- Salah 80'
- Henderson 86'
Referee: Paul Tierney
- Southampton 33%
- Liverpool 67%
- Southampton 11
- Liverpool 17
Shots on Target
- Southampton 1
- Liverpool 5
- Southampton 7
- Liverpool 5
- Southampton 8
- Liverpool 7