Football News

A game of firsts: Five things learned from Southampton 1-3 Liverpool

By Danny Lavelle

Published: 22:11, 5 April 2019

Liverpool battle back from a goal down to head back to the top of the Premier League with a 1-3 victory over Southampton. 

The Reds made a pedestrian start to this game and were caught napping when Shane Long put the Saints ahead after nine minutes.

Jurgen Klopp’s men dialled up the intensity after the that and were able to level the scoring via Naby Keita before the break.

In the second half it was looking like the Reds were going to have to share the points before Mo Salah and Jordan Henderson sent their side back to the top of the league with two late goals.

Here are five things we learned as Liverpool put the pressure back on Manchester City.

1. Salah Keeps the Reds’ hope alive

Salah ended his 572-minute goal drought in the Premier League and finally got his 50th Premier League goal with a superb individual effort.

Salah was not at his best on the south coast, but he made up for not reaching his dizzying standards with a truly brilliant goal in the last ten minutes.

The Egypt international gathered the ball on the half way line as Liverpool attacked on the break. Salah raced all the way to the Saint’s penalty area with Roberto Firmino over lapping him on his left.

It was looking like Salah might hand off the match winner to the surging Brazilian, but he took on the opportunity himself and finished stylishly with a crisply placed strike that left Angus Gunn without a prayer.

2. Long reaches a half century

Shane Long has had to wait a long time for his second goal of the season, but it was a notable one for the record books.

Long’s effort makes him only the fourth player from the Republic of Ireland to score 50 goals in the Premier League, Joining the likes of Robbie Keane (126), Niall Quinn (59) and Damien Duff (54).

Long’s strike was also significant in that it marked an inevitable, but still unwelcome, milestone for Liverpool who have now conceded 5000 goals in the English top-flight, 125 years after Coombe Hall netted the first goal against the Reds for Blackburn in 1894.

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3. Klopp’s subs prove Liverpool are all about the width

The Reds looked a step off the mark on the flanks at St Mary’s, with Trent Alexander-Arnold looking tired at right-back. Luckily Liverpool have strength in depth and two second half substitutions were enough to stretch Southampton to their limits.

Senior hands James Milner and Jordan Henderson were able to add urgency to Liverpool’s attacks and the Englishmen succeeded in getting behind the Saint’s defence to pepper their box with crosses.

Their persistency paid off and Southampton were eventually worn out as Klopp’s men fired in two late goals to grab all the points.

4. Liverpool’s right got it wrong

The Reds are usually watertight down their right flank, if Trent Alexander-Arnold is not helping Mohamed Salah boss that flank then Jamies Milner can be found doing the job.

Tonight, however, the Reds were all over the place at times. Alexander-Arnold struggled to contain the Saints’ advances and he came second best in his individual battle against Nathan Redmond, which might explain his substitution with 30 minutes left to play.

Going forward the Reds weren’t much better on that flank. Salah seemed to have lost his telepathic understanding with his attacking partners and the Egyptian made several miss-timed runs and sloppy passes, but he made up for it in the end.

5. Keita and Hendo off the mark

Naby Keita’s has showed his competency in Liverpool’s midfield, but his maiden campaign in a Red shirt has been rather underwhelming.

The Guinea international averaged seven goals a season in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, but has failed to score at all in the Premier League this season. That was until tonight when he rose up to head in the Reds’ crucial first-half equaliser.

Jordan Henderson also ended his goal drought this evening when he tapped in Liverpool’s third late on, guaranteeing them a return to the top of the league.

Henderson has been directly involved in as many goals in tonight’s game vs Southampton alone as he has in the previous two Premier League seasons combined (2).