It was far from pretty or impressive, but Liverpool earned a vital win in their pursuit of a top-four finish.
Liverpool 2-0 Southampton
Premier League (34), Anfield
May 8, 2021
Mane 31′ (assist: Salah)
Thiago 90′ (assist: Firmino)
And it was Mane who got the opening goal on the half-hour, scoring at Anfield for the first time in 2021 when heading in Mo Salah‘s in-swinging cross at the back post.
Before that sequence, it was Jota who arguably had the best chance of the opening half an hour. Without a goal in his last five appearances, he fired straight at Fraser Forster after a decent move from the Reds.
Salah also had a clear chance, while Gini Wijnaldum headed onto the bar from a corner just before the half-hour. Creating chances wasn’t an issue, but again the finishing wasn’t clinical.
- Mane gets his first Anfield goal in 2021
- Thiago nets his first goal for LFC
- A first home clean sheet since January
- Reds go 6th; 6 points behind Leicester with a game in hand
Liverpool found themselves in a familiar position, leading 1-0. In both their last two games – against Leeds and Newcastle – they’d conceded late on to drop points and that fear was there throughout the second half.
It was not to be a repeat this time, though it did take until the 90th minute to make it 2-0 when Thiago scored his first goal for the club.
The Spaniard curled in a lovely finish from the edge of the box to secure the three points and a vital win in the race for the top four.
Next time the Reds are at Anfield it will be the final game of the season, against Crystal Palace, with 10,000 supporters in attendance – and a potentially massive game to achieve Champions League qualification.
Before then it’s three away games, starting with the re-arranged match at Old Trafford on Thursday. Man United play twice before that game – and Liverpool fans will be hoping they beat Leicester on Tuesday to aid the Reds’ top-four chances.
This result means Liverpool are six points behind fourth-placed Leicester, with a game in hand over Brendan Rodgers’ side.
TIA Man of the Match: Alisson
Referee: Kevin Friend
Subs not used: Adrian, Koumetio, N.Williams, Tsimikas, Woodburn, Shaqiri
Southampton: Forster; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestegaard, Stephens; Tella (Diallo 66′), Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Redmond; Walcott (Obafemi 66′), Adams (Djenepo 79′)
Subs not used: McCarthy, Salisu, Ramsay, N’Lundulu, Ferry, Jankewitz