Southampton 0 Liverpool 2: Match Review

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 11, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

THE game is about the second goal.

The second goal tells us everything about the game and about these two teams and where they are right now.

It is a goal Southampton never score. It is a goal Liverpool score all the time. Or a goal it feels like we score all the time. It’s a goal of quality and astonishing cutting edge, a goal opening up an opposition and touching the sky.

Southampton had been half decent, had had a tidy enough first half after conceding and had pressured Liverpool. Loris Karius made some smart saves, a clean sheet he can take home with him and be proud of. Yet Liverpool never felt genuinely in danger because Southampton didn’t believe, didn’t back themselves. They knew they couldn’t touch the skies.

Liverpool never actually play that well, they don’t have 10 brilliant sustained minutes in the game but that doesn’t matter because they have 10 brilliant sustained seconds which takes the game away from Southampton. It’s a stark reminder that we are allowed to win 2-0, perhaps even 1-0 because we have those players who lighten a drab game.

Southampton are a very sane side. They accepted their plight meekly in the second half. They knew they were outgunned and so never properly attempted an assault on Liverpool’s goal. I love these sides accepting the inevitable.

On and off the pitch, Southampton have become victims of accepting the superiority of Liverpool. They know we are the bigger, better side. The attitude around Virgil van Dijk makes more sense watching this game. The closest Southampton have come to landing one on Liverpool this season was in the summer.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 11, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk after the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s players all worked hard. At times the ball moved too slowly, at times they sat in but there was graft everywhere, the work rate of winners, and winners they were. Slowly but surely, Liverpool were first to not everything but first to enough.

Sadio Mane had his best game for a while. The end product wasn’t quite there but he was continually involved. Gini Wijnaldum impressed in midfield, better for his rest, eager to be involved. Van Dijk enjoyed himself, defending there to be done. They tried to target Trent Alexander-Arnold and found themselves against a footballer who is becoming a stout defender. They got in occasionally, they will, they are good players but they aren’t great.

This Liverpool side now finds itself two points behind Manchester United and ahead of Chelsea and Tottenham. There is the idea of the chase in both directions. We should be looking only upwards. We should be demonstrating that we are the best of the rest and we should be putting a marker down.

You know the marker, you know what the marker is. The marker is what we can do up top, how we can take a game away.

It’s a Roberto Firmino backheel. It’s a no-nonsense finish from Mo Salah. It’s everything you need, everything Liverpool need.

Porto next. This is the business end.

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10 Comments

  1. Bring on the business end!

  2. Routine win marked by astounding beauty.

    Bobby Firmino is really making his mark this season. Mo Salah has already made his.

  3. We practically stole Van Dijk from Southampton on that evidence. Karius’ limbs have reappeared just from being in his proximity.

  4. We should’ve gone to a 442 to stop the crosses from wide a bit earlier in the first half. But 2nd half was really comfortable, in part thanks to the introduction of Jimmy Milner.
    Great 3 points.
    Oh, and muchas Rafa.

  5. Lee Brooke-Pearce

    Never been so happy to be so bored second half.

  6. The performance was a bit flat, but then so are Southampton.

    The win, the goals and the 3 points from a “can win” game is what I was hoping for and we got, thanks to sublime assists and finishes.

    Also glad to have Rafa still on our side.

    I was hoping for Gini to break his duck but I guess if you don’t like duck then you’re rather stuck with Gini in his bottle.

    Happy to see Karius play with confidence and Lallana back in the fold.

    Subs seemed the right ones to make. Milner is one of the most dependable players, just wish he had the legs for it.

    Not 100% sure of Matip and Can just loves going into deep space mode.

    Anyways great routine win like it should be by now. No injuries and no cards.

    Porto are no mugs so stay humble and sharp to handle the businesses end as supporters.

    It is going to be a difficult but exciting CL match.

    Come on you Reds!

  7. Addicted2Football

    I know I’ll come across daft, but I felt quite guilty during this match. Watching Liverpool play Southampton after convincing them to sell us most of their best players over the last 4 years is a bit like watching a dealer beat up one of his junkie customers. I think that game would have been a lot harder for us if they still had Clyne, Lovren, VVD, Mané, Lallana and Lambert playing for themnot to mention all the other players who they sold to other clubs. They sold their soul and are now in emergency, so it was quite appropriate that the match hashtag was #SOULIV.

    Poor fuckers are wandering around wondering what to do now, just buy more players that a bigger team will eventually lure over. What’s the point? This can’t have been the glorious plan of Nicola Cortese back in the days when he was setting up Southampton to escape League One. You may well say that no one stole the players, that the Saints made a tidy profit on each and every one, but just look at what happened with Virgil when they finally said “enough”. We just drank up all their milkshake, because that’s what the big clubs do, they pillage the smaller clubs. That’s the football food chain, and normally no one notices but when its all from the one club and everyone just jokes about it, we come in like Count flippin Dracula to bite again the soft sweet south coast neck.

    No wonder their whole team played poorly, probably directed to by the club so that we wouldn’t want to buy any more of their players. Imagine if Barça had bought Xabi Alonso and Torres as well as Masch, Suarez and Phil and they were all in the squad for a CL game against us. Well we’ve moved on at least, Southampton still haven’t. Zombie-like shell of a team, not a horrible team like Villa or Leeds or a rival like Chelsea or Arsenal. Southampton were harmless innocents, a fine up and coming team that never did no harm to nobody, building in the right way, a beautiful story that we walked into town and destroyed with our money. Now look at them, heading down with a manager that is ex-LFC, just for a bit of extra salt. I do hope Jurgen and the boys left the toilets clean to at least spare the Saints’ cleaning staff but we have essentially taken a big collective shit and smeared it all over the walls of St Mary’s.

    At least our goals came from players they’ve never had on their books, and could never have, even with all that Liverpool money. Our team were dressed like their stewards and just as their fluro orange brothers controlled the stands, we controlled the pitch, hosing down hope and expectation until like the poor dog in that famous scientific experiment, they stopped resisting and just lay down to be electrocuted over and over again.

    Some Saints fans booed and many left before the end. I hope they get up again and put their money to good use and give the fans some joy and I hope that we and other clubs leave them alone to grow.

    Happy to win mind you! Great to have Rafa get one over José again too, all good for us. Let’s hope that José fucks up his return to the Bridge and we smash West Ham to jump into second place.

    • @Addicted2Football I know what you men. Good shout regarding this. It could have easily been us in the feeding seat, though we do provide a sort of intravenous drip to Barcelona these days.

      Would love if your predictions come true for the plastics and man united. Can’t believe Chelsea fans comment that they would rid of Conte in keeping with their revolving door policy. They might down tools yet again this season, and possibly at United too if things like this keep up. I wish it happens. :)

  8. Epic post. Props for weaving in There Will Be Blood, and loved the observation on the orange shirts. And it may well have been an overlooked footnote on a victory as mundane as it was reassuring, but the sight of Lallana closing down and tackling one of their boys in the inside right channel was a right throwback to October 2016. We’ll need plenty more of those hard yards.

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