A heavily rotated Liverpool side came from behind to beat Southampton and move to within a point of Man City again, taking the title race – and the quadruple chase – to the final day of the Premier League season.
Southampton 1-2 Liverpool
St. Mary’s, Premier League
Tuesday 17 May, 2022
Goals: Redmond 12′; Minamino 26′, Matip 66′
Alisson Becker – 7 (out of 10)
Produced a good one-on-one stop minutes before he was beaten by a deflected, looping strike.
Decent distribution and cool a few times when closed down.
Joe Gomez – 6
Not quite as effective going forward in wide areas as he had been in recent outings, but solid enough in possession and defensively more often than not. Also clipped a lovely pass into Jota for the build-up to the equaliser.
Took a heavy fall with his left ankle twisted beneath him just before half-time and subbed at the break.
Joel Matip – 7
A few early dribbles which didn’t go anywhere and beaten down the line by Broja.
After that he was better defensively and did loads of the clearing up as Saints tried to break out of their six-yard box, mostly failing, then bent down about twelve feet for his big moment: a Walker-Peters attempted clearance, off Matip’s [face? head?] and looping into the top corner.
They all count!
Ibrahima Konate – 9 – Man of the Match
Bit of a worry when he took an early bang on the face, but otherwise it was assured and complete, very much as normal from big Ibou.
Toward the end of the first half as the Reds were dominant, he pushed up so high he was winning the ball back repeatedly about 10 yards outside Saints’ penalty box – they simply couldn’t get out because of it.
Motored his way through a few challenges and recoveries in an exemplary showing. Bullied Broja.
What a signing he has been, really impressing as the season has progressed.
Kostas Tsimikas – 8
Good one-v-ones against Walker-Peters and delivered a few decent first-half corners and crosses.
Teed up Jota after the break and took the corner which led to 2-1. Really good far-post defensive work twice in the second half.
James Milner – 7
Made a few decent interventions but then was bypassed and stuck out a leg to block Redmond’s shot, deflecting it in.
Minor and misfortune maybe, but we’ve seen the centre-backs purposely not try and block long-rangers this season for that reason: give Alisson a clean shot to save, not a deflection.
On the ball he was pretty adventurous from the No6 role, he moved it quickly most of the time and did enough to stop Saints getting out of their own box easily on restarts.
Right-back for the second half. Good crosses and high positions.
Harvey Elliot – 8
Started well in what was his first league start since injury in September, playing at tempo and looking to make his usual clever runs in the channel.
Some of his one-touch passes, combinations around the box and runs to get into shooting positions highlight what an exciting talent we have – there’s a lot more to come again next season.
Curtis Jones – 8
Some tremendous ball-carrying in the first half, evading tackles and opening up the game as the mismatched Reds looked to find their touch and rhythm.
His work rate and positional play off the ball is wildly undervalued and was vital here in an unusual-looking midfield, but he also had his creativity on the ball and intent to get shooting chances off when possible.
Didn’t have his shooting boots on but was otherwise excellent.
Takumi Minamino – 7
Didn’t really do oodles for about 25 minutes other than a few recycling bits and tracking back, but then made a fantastic run with a brilliant first touch and buried second one at the end of it – one league start, one league goal this season.
Not hugely involved but a load of work off the ball and a few nice link play moments, plus several good pressures to win it back off their defenders.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Great header, sadly offside.
If the FA Cup final was the drunk Bobby version, this was fun Bobby version – loads of clever touches, hard running and instinctive efforts at goal.
Linked really well with Elliott in particular, played his bespoke hybrid 9/10 role to its fullest and looks like he will offer us another good attacking option once more for two more massive matches.
Jamie Carragher gave him Sky’s man of the match and he was certainly a contender for us.
Diogo Jota – 7
Clearly, obviously and massively fouled before Saints broke to score. Ref Martin Atkinson missing it is typical. The VAR not correcting a stupid, abysmal error was peak crap officiating in this league, a cowardly and self-serving cluster of ineptitude.
He has had a woeful time of late for the most part, so BIG props for his showing here. There were a lot of bad touches still, a lot of attempted combination plays which didn’t quite come off, but at no stage did he relax his pressing, stop trying to make himself available and stop trying to make things happen in the final third.
Not vintage Diogo by any means, but a great control and touch for the equaliser, almost netted a volley straight after and scuffed a half-volley just wide after the restart.
Jordan Henderson (on for Gomez, 46′) – 7 – Yeah, decent. Did a composed job in the middle. Must be running on fumes at this stage.
Divock Origi (on for Elliott, 65′) – 6 – Came on just in time to celebrate going ahead. Then gave the ball away loads.
Naby Keita (on for Firmino, 82′) – n/a – Minutes.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaz, Robertson, Williams
Jurgen Klopp – 10
Enforced and necessary raft of changes by the boss after 120 minutes in very warm weather on Saturday. The defence was much-changed but pretty much standard all the same, with both back-up full-backs getting outings recently and Ibou and Joel dovetailing anyway.
It was arguably just in midfield – Elliott’s recall, Milner as the 6 – and in attack with Minamino’s sudden reappearance where the real “gambles”, if that’s what they were, were taken.
Even so, Firmino’s fitness and Jota’s woeful form had fans wondering if this would be a bit of a slog at St. Mary’s ahead of kick-off.
But it wasn’t really: despite going behind, the Reds were good in relative terms considering the rotations, the patters of play were easily identifiable and the off-the-ball work was excellent. That’s all down to the coaching staff, and Klopp’s trust in the fringe options.
The boss fumed rightly when the foul on Jota wasn’t given, and celebrated Firmino’s ‘goal’ in aggressive style for a few seconds.
Martin Atkinson – 1
Disgracefully, woefully inept.
Let’s set aside the foul before the goal.
Let’s set aside blocking off more than one pass into Firmino and the likes by standing in the way.
Let’s set aside calling a foul on Origi for Lyanco desperately throwing himself to the ground.
Let’s set aside the late aerial barge on Jota and a host of other minor wrong calls along the way too.
Actually, let’s just set him aside, one game early. Retire.