Southampton 1 - 2 Liverpool
Saints: Redmond 13’
Reds: Minamino 27’, Matip 67’
Klopp makes a whopping 9 changes—everyone but Alisson and Konaté—from the FA Cup final on Saturday. It is understandable, of course, after 120 minutes of physical, mental, and emotional exertions.
Despite the predictable Twitter meltdown, it’s still a strong lineup (and likely as strong as we could go, given the situation). If this were a league cup lineup, we’d all rightly praise our strength in depth and expect us to go through. As such, we should expect to get all three points tonight. And if things aren’t going to plan, Klopp will have three of Thiago, Henderson, Keita, Diaz, and Origi to bring on to change things up.
The makeshift Reds (in yellow) start brightly, playing, I dare say, in “The Liverpool Way.” The press is working early on, Elliott is an early standout.
Goal. Nathan Redmond hits Liverpool with an absolute sucker punch. It’s a cracking goal from the edge of the area on Southampton’s first shot of the night. Ooof. The attack started after Diogo Jota was cleaned out and Atkinson, as he is wont to do, waved “play on.” VAR did not intervene.
It’s a decent response by Liverpool, and Firmino manages to put the ball in the back of the net, but it is chalked off for offside.
GOAL! Taki Minamino equalizes! It’s a brilliant ball by Gomez, fizzed into Jota’s path that sets it all up. Diogo gets it under control and then plays in Taki who blasts it into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
As halftime approaches, there’s a scary moment for Joe Gomez, who appears to have picked up yet another knock. Jordan Henderson is warming up as a possible sub (presumably moving Milner to right back), but the ref blows before any changes can be made.
Otherwise it’s a pretty good half, all things considered. Liverpool were largely in control, and Southampton’s first shot (worth about .05 xG) remains their only shot. Another 45 minutes like that and Liverpool should trot out 3-1 winners.
Henderson comes on to start the second half, with Gomez off due to injury. Hope it’s not a bad one, and a speedy recovery, Joe!
Liverpool start the half once again on the front foot, and nearly take the lead after Tsimikas picks out Jota in the box, however the Portuguese striker hits his shot just wide of the target. A few minutes later Southampton are once again cut open, and it’s Elliott who cannot quite turn the shot on target. There’s definitely more goals out there for the Reds, they have to just keep firing.
On the hour mark Kloppo decides it’s time for Divock to be Divock. Elliott makes way, and the Reds will presumably switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1. Liverpool are really pouring men forward now.
GOAL!! It’s the most awkward header from the most awkward defender! In another word, perfect! It’s a corner that first comes off a Southampton player, then onto the head of Matip, who somehow places it perfectly in the corner!
With 10 minutes left, Klopp makes his final sub, bringing off Bobby Firmino for Naby Keita. It’s once again reverting to a 4-3-3, and trying to see out these last few minutes with all three points.
As we approach stoppage time Southampton are having their first proper go of the match. It might make for a nervy few minutes, but on the other hand they aren’t really cutting Liverpool open, either.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool did just enough to get over the line, which all things considered, is exactly what they needed to do. They will take Manchester City to the last match of the season, and if things get interesting, the last kick. Liverpool have done their part, and now one more challenge awaits. Liverpool have given themselves a chance to win a title on the last day of the season. Yes, it might need a bit of luck, but they’ve put themselves in the position to be lucky.
Who was Liverpool’s Man of the Match against Southampton?
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