Liverpool are at a point in the season where the only thing that matters is that they collect 3 points from every game they play in. With that sort of binary existing, what happens in the game doesn’t particularly matter as long as they score more goals than their opponent. That’s what happened this evening when the Reds defeated Southampton 2-0.
It was not an entertaining match for the spectator to watch. Nothing that interesting happened, really. But Liverpool have made a habit recently of letting these boring games slip from their hands. However, they got the job done and still have a glimmer of hope for finishing top 4 this season.
Now join us as we examine some of the narratives, tactics, reactions, and questions Liverpool will be dealing with and the fans will be talking about in the aftermath.
Winners and Losers
Liverpool kept the opponent from scoring a goal in a league match for the first time since April 4th against Arsenal. Southampton weren’t without their chances and if Alisson wasn’t keeping goal we’d be having a different conversation. The Reds’ goalkeeper made 6 saves on the night, including a clutch double save and another save after a poorly placed pass. Those 6 saves were the most saves he’s ever made in a Premier League match ever.
If you offered me a clean sheet when the lineup was announced, especially with Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams starting at the center of defense, I would’ve snatched your hand off. The two youngsters certainly struggled with Southampton’s pace but they got the result that Liverpool needed.
Mo Salah & Sadio Mane
Much blame about Liverpool’s poor form has fallen at the feet of the attack misfiring for months on end. They’ve looked disjointed and out of sync since the turn of the year. Tonight was different as Salah and Mane looked dangerous all evening. They capped off their display combining to score Liverpool’s first goal. Should the Reds finish the season with a winning streak, they’ll need Salah and Mane firing.
Having to watch that
Look, obviously Liverpool fans are happy with a win. But that match was not fun to watch. We’re grateful the Reds got the job done given the circumstances. There’s not a team in the Premier League, or maybe even the world, that needs fans to return (safely) to the ground more than Liverpool. Yesterday was the anniversary of Liverpool’s triumphant comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League. Stuff like that doesn’t happen anywhere else, and only happens because of the intense power of the Anfield faithful. What we’re seeing now, with a year or so of empty stadiums, is just dire and needs to end as soon as possible.
When Southampton beat Liverpool 1-0 on January 4th they sat sixth in the table, only outside of the top 4 due to goal differential. Since then they’ve lost a staggering thirteen matches and find themselves just 10 points above the relegation zone. Something is seriously wrong at this football club.
What Happens Next
Liverpool plays Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday night. Well, maybe. We’ll have to see. This game, of course, was supposed to be played last Sunday but a historic fan protest at the stadium got the match called off. This game could define Liverpool’s season if they get a win, propelling them on to finish top 4.