Liverpool kept their slim hopes of a top-four finish alive with a 2-0 victory over Southampton at Anfield.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring on 31 minutes when he headed home Mo Salah’s superb cross. It came just seconds after Alisson had brilliantly denied Che Adams at the other end.
The home side deserved their lead after dominating for long spells but Salah, Diogo Jota and Gini Wijnaldum couldn’t convert good first-half chances to ensure they had a greater advantage to show for their endeavour.
Tokyo 2020 (W)
Every Premier League player registered for the men's Olympic football event
- City denied title celebration as Chelsea grab dramatic late win
- Title race remains wide open after Barca and Atleti both miss chances to win
- Lewandowski hits hat-trick as Bayern crown Bundesliga title with win over Gladbach
Southampton’s best opportunities came via the pace of Nathan Tella and Adams on the counter attack but when they did create anything of note, Alisson was there to deny them.
Liverpool were nervy in the latter stages of the second half but made sure of the points when Thiago netted his first goal for the club in the 90th-minute.
The win means the Merseysiders move up to sixth in the Premier League table, six points adrift of fourth-placed Leicester City who have played one game more.
Southampton stay 16th but they are edging closer to safety as they remain 10 points above Fulham in 18th spot with just four games to play.
Liverpool travel to Manchester United on Thursday for their rearranged showdown knowing there is still little margin for error in their pursuit of Champions League football next season. Southampton host Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
Nervy Liverpool get the win – but need three more and favours. Chelsea’s victory at Manchester City may have further complicated top-four matters for Liverpool, but Leicester’s wobble and tricky fixture list at least offers some hope for Klopp and his men. The fallen champions have to be perfect from here though and Manchester United could have a big say over their fate in the next week. The Red Devils host Leicester on Tuesday before welcoming Liverpool just two days later. If results go their way, Liverpool will have renewed belief with West Brom (a), Burnley (a) and Crystal Palace (H) to come. If they don't, the dream could be over. There are going to be some intriguing twists and turns in the final furlong on the season with the battle for the Champions League places looking like being the most exciting. Watch this space.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alisson (Liverpool). The Brazilian made a series of top saves and the one just prior to Mane’s opener was particularly significant. Had a scary moment when his pass went straight to Adams, but he got the luck his performance deserved with a smart stop and was key to the hosts getting over the line unscathed.
LIVERPOOL: Alisson 8, Alexander-Arnold 8, Phillips 8, Williams 7, Robertson 7, Fabinho 7, Thiago 7, Wijnaldum 7, Jota 7, Mane 7, Salah 7. Subs: Firmino 7, Oxlade Chamberlain n/a, Jones n/a.
SOUTHAMPTON: Forster 8, Walker-Peters 8, Bednarek 7, Vestegaard 7, Stephens 7, Tella 8, Ward-Prowse 7, Armstrong 6, Redmond 7, Walcott 6, Adams 7. Subs: Obafemi 6, Diallo 6, Djenepo 6.
AC Milan lead European chase for Spurs defensive ace - Euro Papers
26’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Wijnaldum meets a right-wing delivery but thumps his header against the crossbar.
30’ – SOUTHAMPTON CHANCE! Alisson comes off his line and stands big to deny Adams from point-blank range after a brilliant counter attack saw Tella rampage down the right and roll it across for the forward.
31’ - GOAL! – Liverpool 1-0 Southampton. Mane nods home at the far post after a pinpoint cross from Salah on the right. It comes less than a minute after Alisson’s super stop.
68’ – SOUTHAMPTON CHANCE! Alisson flies off his line once more to block Obafemi after Adams' angled pass caught Williams out.
77’ – SOUTHAMPTON CHANCE! Almost a catastrophe for Alisson. He passes the ball straight to Adams but recovers to dive to his right and keep out the striker's low shot.
90’ - GOAL! – Liverpool 2-0 Southampton. It's all over. Thiago coolly places a low shot into the far corner from 20 yards out.
Salah's assist for Sadio Mané's header was the first time the duo have combined for a goal in the Premier League this season, last doing so vs Crystal Palace in June 2020.
This was Klopp’s 100 wins at Anfield as Liverpool manager in all competitions (W100, D35, L17).
Tokyo 2020 (W)
Liverpool to refuse Salah's request to play at Olympics
Kane, Dias, and Fernandes among Premier League Player of the Season nominees