Premier League: Liverpool smile again against Southampton and do not give up the Champions League
Give your all to avoid professional misconduct. Such was, when welcoming Southampton on behalf of the 35th day of the Premier League, the state of mind of the men of a Jürgen Klopp having clearly put the pressure on them in recent days for the end of the season and of the top 4 objective to achieve in order not to end up without the Champions League in 2021-2022. Especially since Liverpool was forced to pocket the three points this Saturday at Anfield, where the Reds remained on 1 victory in the last 10 games before this meeting, to stay in contact with Chelsea, victorious at Manchester City (2-1 ) while taking advantage of Leicester’s misstep, defeated by Newcastle (2-4). To do this, the German manager of the Liverpuldiens aligned his usual 4-3-3 with a central Phillips-Williams hinge, and an attacking trio Salah-Jota-Mané, leaving Firmino on the bench. His German counterpart and compatriot Ralph Hasenhüttl, deprived of his top scorer Ings, set up a classic 4-4-2 for the Saints, led by their captain Ward-Prowse or even Walcott, Tella and Adams.
After a fairly rhythmic start to the game but without any real opportunity, Sadio Mané lit the first fuse but, in the area, sent a big strike over the cage of the Saints (10th). Southampton managed to get closer to the goal protected by Alisson without however managing to worry the Brazilian goalkeeper, vigilant (16th). For their part, the Reds wanted to quickly reassure themselves. But neither Mohamed Salah, missing his face-to-face against Forster (18th), nor Nathaniel Phillips, head (19th), did the right thing, while Diogo Jota and Salah still stumbled on the Southampton goalkeeper (25th) ) before Wijnaldum finds the top of his crossbar on this powerful header (26th). At the height of Liverpool, the Saints, on the other hand, were very close to opening the scoring but Alisson won brilliantly in front of Adams then Redmond (30th).
An opportunity that visitors can ruminate on. On the next action, Salah sent a marvelous center plunging for Mané, who, at the far post, concluded with a header from close range (1-0, 31st). A paid connection between the two attackers for the first time this season. This opening of the score clearly put a blow behind the heads of Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men, a fact that did not escape the Reds and Salah, who, after a new number on his right side, procrastinated too much to make the break (36th) . Before the break, Tella did not put enough power in his head to worry Alisson (44th). When they returned from the locker room, Liverpool left with the same desire to kill the match in order to avoid a new tense end to the game they had so lacked recently, but Forster confirmed in front of Jota that he was having a great night (50th). Then, over the minutes of this second period, the pace of the meeting calmed down.
Southampton gradually regained confidence in the game and in intentions as doubt settled in the heads of the Reds, like this poor recovery from Alisson forcing him to dive to keep his clean sheet (77th). After some hot situations on both sides through Jota (78th), Salah (80th) and Mané (81st) for the locals and Obafemi (84th) for the visitors, Thiago Alcantara definitely sealed the victory of his family by cheating Forster d ‘a strike placed at the entrance to the area, scoring in passing his first goal with his new team (2-0, 90th). After two consecutive draws in the league, Liverpool (6th, 57 points) therefore regains color thanks to this success and returns to Tottenham, beaten in Leeds (1-3) a little earlier in the day. Three days from the end, the Reds, who have one game less than Spurs, Chelsea and Leicester, at the same time return to six units of 4th place now occupied by the Foxes. Southampton (16th, 37 points) follows a fourth meeting in a row in the Premier League without the slightest success and confirms its very difficult second part of the season after a great start. The Saints, however, should not be affected by the race to maintain.