Liverpool were dominant in their victory over Southampton yesterday, and they were able to cruise to a 4-0 win after going into halftime with a three-goal lead. Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has claimed responsibility for the defeat after deciding to line up with five at the back to start the match.
“We wanted to surprise them a little bit and we surprised ourselves,” admitted Hasenhüttl in his post-match press conference. “It wasn’t a good idea against a team on fire.
“It was my mistake, I take it on my part. I’m responsible for this defeat. I sent them out on the pitch with not a good plan and it didn’t work. We tried it against Chelsea but it didn’t work here because we couldn’t stop what they did. We had big problems in the half-spaces in the centre and we couldn’t stop them.”
It was certainly a risky play that clearly didn’t pay off for Southampton. With Liverpool’s lethal attack, it takes a well-organized, disciplined defensive approach to keep the Reds off the scoresheet. Instead, Southampton’s setup created a fairly open match, which nearly always works in Liverpool’s favor.
“That’s why we changed at half-time but the game was gone. In the second half, you could see it was more stable and we played better football in our normal shape and we didn’t give away that many chances.
“But it’s still hard to defend against a team on fire. We can play better than in the first half, that’s for sure.”
That doesn’t mean that Southampton didn’t have their chances. The open flow of the match did lead to some opportunities to cut into Liverpool’s lead, but Alisson Becker made a few key stops to keep the Saints off the board.
“We had a lot of chances, to be honest. It’s disappointing we didn’t score. It’s a good goalkeeper in the goal, who has made a few good saves.
“We had good moments to score but you can see the difference – when they came in front of our goal it’s unbelievable how they played with the last pass and last decision. That’s the difference.
“There must be a reason why they are one of the best teams in the world and we are a team trying to do everything to stay in the league.”
Hasenhüttl also noted that Liverpool made sure to put the game away against his side after failing to do so against Brighton last month saw the Reds blow a 2-0 lead and walk away with a draw.
“They didn’t make the mistake they made against Brighton. They didn’t stop after 2-0, they kept going. Congratulations to Liverpool, it was a very, very good game from them.”