Takumi Minamino fires one in to level the scores at St. Mary's before Matip's second half winner. (Photo credit: Sky Sports) Liver...
|Takumi Minamino fires one in to level the scores at St. Mary's before Matip's second half winner. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Liverpool proved a different class on Tuesday night. It wasn’t particularly pretty against the Saints at St. Mary’s Stadium, but they were effective enough to keep the pressure on Manchester City and keep the league waiting until the final day.
When Jurgen Klopp released his team sheet for the game against Southampton, many raised eyebrows and wondered if he was no longer interested in the quadruple, but the second string he sent on the pitch did the job even when they had to come from behind.
Southampton had nothing to lose, they were safe and were only playing for pride, but it was always difficult for any visiting side. Days like the final home game are sacred, and teams always want to give something special to their fans to hang on to till the new season begins.
Liverpool fielded only three players from the cup final success, Harvey Elliot and Takumi Minamino started a league game for the first time in ages, while Curtis Jones started consecutive games for the first time this season.
Southampton dominated the opening exchanges, forcing saves from Alison Becker before Nathan Redmond sent a blinder to the top corner, aided by a slight Konate deflection. Joy in Manchester and despair in Merseyside, at that point, it felt like the blue ribbons were wriggling on the trophy.
Liverpool labored back and got the equalizer before the half-hour mark. Takumi Minamino sent one in at the near post off a fine pass from Diogo Jota. Southampton didn’t rest, they wanted it more, but the Liverpool defense stood firm.
The second half was interesting, and both sides made it fun. Liverpool lost Joe Gomez in the first half, and there was no recognized right back to fill in; James Milner dropped to right-back, and Jordan Henderson joined the midfield; he proved vital as the Saints resorted to long balls.
Liverpool bizarrely grabbed the winner. A corner from Kostas Tsimikas was misguided by Elyounussi and was bundled home by Joel Matip. Southampton didn’t rest. Still, they heaped pressure on the Kops, but it ended 2-1 to the visitors to set up a final day drama for us all to enjoy.