IBO Reporter : Spot51
|The game is on Sky so all the pundits are bloody Scousers: Rednapp at pitch side and Carragher upstairs. FFS! At least the ref is decent. Martin Atkinson who is finishing in the summer to become a refereeing coach. Liverpool are in all yellow and Saints kick off.
After initial skirmishes Liverpool won the first of many corners on 7 minutes. Saints cleared it but Konate remained prone in the box, accidentlally bashed by Salisu. After the Medics had been on he was able to continue. Soon after, Saints broke the Liverpool press and Broja got a run on goal. Alisson advanced to narrow the angle and blocked the Albanian's effort.
Next KWP was away down the right but cute defending saw the ball played off him and behind. The next attack came down the left with Carragher whinging about some imaginary foul by Lyanco on Jota. Redmond cut inside, feigned to shoot then went again. Milner stuck out a leg but merely moved Redmond's shot further beyond the keeper into the top corner. Thirteen minutes gone and 1-0 Saints.
Scoring was akin to poking a cobra with a stick as it served only to motivate the away side who attacked with increased intensity. Lyanco was picking up Jota and on 17m intervened at the last moment to nick the ball away from the striker for a corner. Saints cleared this but then conceded a free kick on Liverpool's left. A peach of a cross was curled in and deftly headed passt McC by Firmino, The flag went up and replays showed Saints line had stayed put catching several yellow shirts, including Firmino's, offside.
The game was being played mostly in Saints half with Liverpool moving the ball nicely but not creating too much. Saints were 5-4-1 with Broja an increasingly isolated and frustrated spectator, He was no doubt dreaming about being back at Chelsea asap. Our breaks were rare and their defence never looked too troubled - after the goal.
The problem with getting upfield was the speed with which Liverpool countered and on 27m they equalised. A ball was knocked up to Jota who fed Mimamino. Our former loanee went past Stephens before rifling past McC at his near post. 1-1 and the lead had lasted under 15m.
Scenting blood, the ECL finalists turned the screw. McC had to beat away Milner's cross. Jota won a corner on the left. Lyanco headed that out and McC rose to catch the next. Then Elliott got to the bye-line and found Firmino at our front post. The Brazilian hit the ball past McC but a timely intervention by JWP put the ball safely over the bar. McCarthy fisted this corner away.
The game reminded me of a battle reenactment; specifically, The Alamo where Saints were the doomed Texans and Liverpool the well drilled troops of Santa Anna. On 37m, I got the sudden urge to take a dump so put the game on hold till the deed was done. Saints kept the ball for a short while but were soon back defending The Chapel.
On 45m Saints had a shot. Alisson saved it. During the 2 added minutes Tella fell on Gomez who failed to get up. Carra retold the string of injuries Gomez has suffered and he took no further part in the match. Half time, and amazingly still 1-1.
Gomez did not reappear for the 2nd half. Henderson took both the armband and the midfield general berth from Milner who was shunted to right back. It was more of the same and, 3 minutes in, Jota stuck one inches past the far post. Close!
On 50m Broja finally received the ball and was unceremoniously upended by Milner. It was quite a way from goal but JWP took it on, smashing the ball against a 2-man wall. We had a long throw which Salisu got into the box; a brief game of head tennis was ruined when Matip headed it back to his keeper.
It was end to end for a while. Firmino found Jota who had his effort blocked then down our right wing we found Lyanco delivering long throws from that side. Liverpool broke at pace and played in Elliott who was forced wide, his shot into the side netting. Have to say Redmond was doing OK as wing-back. Twice Milner took him on and twice our man took the ball off him.
It was still very much akin to The Alamo when the hour came up but the game was still a draw. Liverpool were shooting from distance now: first Jones screwed his well wide, then Firmino hit one on target but right at McCarthy. Liverpool then made a second change with Origi on for Elliott.
Their next attack saw Salisu head Milner's cross behind and giving Liverpool an 8th corner. KWP marking Matip looked a mis-match, especially when our right back appeared to duck, The taller man leaned forward and the ball bounced off the crown of his head before arcing gracefully over the static keeper and under the bar. Was that enormous gaffaw Fraser's reaction? Anyhow Liverpool led 2-1. Bugger!
With nothing to defend, Saints decided they may as well attack. Again Broja took on Milner, again he was fouled. Redmond's cross was headed out for a corner. JWP's cross was headed away and Origi went by Stephens who brought him down. First foul but a yellow for Jack whereas Milner was yet to take the ball and not the player. Like Hansen and Lawro were still ar their dark arts.
Next to foul Broja was Konate and we at least got the free kick but by now the commentary team had given up talking about the match. Instead they were obsequiously brown-tongueing Liverpool's quadruple quest which was quite sickening.
On 82m the battered Broja was replaced by Che and Liverpool brought on Keita for Firmino. Moments later Lyanco dazzled Origi with his Brazilian ball skills and was brougfht down for his trouble.
As the minutes ticked by, Saints decided that another multi-goal thrashing had been avoided and emerged from behind the barricades. Redders got down the left and cut inside. Sadly this shot did not sail into the net but was hit so hard that Alisson took 2 goes at saving it.
The 3 added minutes was all Saints with Liverpool defending in numbers. We'll never know what might have happened had we played this way all evening. It seems scoring first was a curse as we could never realistically expect to defend a one goal lead against any Liverpool team for 80 minutes.
The last attack was a Saints one. Had it been Broja on the end of the cross it might have troubled them but it was way too high for KWP to generate any power. The ball dollied up for the keeper to grab. Final whistle - another defeat for a side with sod all ambition.
Man of the Match
Carra gave the Sky MoM to Firmino who was a real problem for us until he was subbed. None of ours were particularly bad but nor were any much good either. The whole evening was a bit "Meh!"
Standing out from the crod was a super goal from Redders who also showed a hidden appetite for tackling. He may be here longer than some imagine. However, my favourite Saints performance was Lyanco who is Spot's final MoM of this tiresome season. With all and sundry trying to move JWP on in the summer, I want to see our future defence built around Lyanco and for him to be wearing the captain's armband too. There'll be less slacking with him in charge!