Liverpool slipped to just their second Premier League defeat of the season after former Reds striker Danny Ings earned Southampton a surprise 1-0 win at St Mary’s.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were forced to start the match without a recognised centre-back, and their makeshift backline was breached after just 111 seconds, with Ings brilliantly hooking his 50th Premier League goal over Alisson to break the deadlock.
It took Liverpool until the 75th minute to have a shot target, and even that was a tame effort from Sadio Mane, as their famed front three had a rare off day. Saints were in fact comfortable in seeing out the win.
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The defeat opens the door for Manchester United, who can go top of the table outright with even just a draw from their game in hand against Burnley next week.
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Thiago Alcantara was handed just his second Premier League start of the season, but the free-kick he conceded inside two minutes gave Saints the chance to unleash their rehearsed free-kick routine, with James Ward-Prowse clipping a lovely ball into Ings, who used his left foot to loft a sumptuous finish over Alisson.
Liverpool could not get going at all, finishing the opening 45 minutes without having had a shot on target.
Fraser Forster was playing in goal for Saints, playing at St Mary’s for the first time since December 2017, but there is no way he could have predicted what an easy evening he would have, with his one save from Mane as easy as it gets.
Ralph Hasenhuttl was in tears at the final whistle, as Saints won their first match in five attempts, with a solid defensive effort. But they did not have to play that well, Liverpool were just that poor.
TALKING POINT – No excuses for dismal Liverpool display
Coming into a run of matches against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton, anything other than nine points would normally have had Jurgen Klopp pulling his hair out. Quite how he reacts to taking just two from those three matches is anyone’s guess. What on earth has happened to Liverpool? That was as poor as they have played in some time.
Last season, when they were below par, they found ways to grind out victories. This season, their away form has not been anywhere near good enough, and they rarely offer such little a threat as they did tonight.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton)
An incredible defensive effort from the Saints full-back who was a constant source of frustration for Liverpool. Nobody made more tackles or clearances .
Southampton: Forster 7, Walker-Peters 8, Stephens 7, Bednarek 7, Bertrand 7, Ward-Prowse 8, Diallo 7, Armstrong 7, Djenepo 7, Ings 8, Walcott 6. Subs: Valery 6, Tella 8, N’Lundulu 6.
Liverpool: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 4, Fabinho 5, Henderson 6, Robertson 6, Wijnaldum 4, Thiago 4, Oxlade-Chamberlain 4, Salah 4, Firmino 4, Mane 5. Subs: Milner 5, Shaqiri 4.
An emotional Ralph Hasenhuttl after Southampton's win
Image credit: Getty Images
2’ - GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Liverpool(Ings). What a start! Danny Ings! Against his former club! Thiago concedes a free-kick. James Ward-Prowse clips in a clever pass into Ings, but the finish is sublime, hooked over a stranded Alisson. His second for Saints against his former club.
26’ - OVER! Ings in the thick of it again with a lovely lay off into Moussa Djenepo, who curls just over the top.
41’ - WIDE! What a story that would have been! Ings flicks the ball on, Tella works space for the shot, thinks he has scored his first Premier League goal, but sees his strike flash agonisingly wide.
75’ - CHANCE! Finally - a Liverpool shot on target! But it is a tame effort from Mane, who scuffs the ground and Forster makes an easy save.
84' - OFF THE LINE! What an impact that would have been by Valery, as he beats Alisson to the ball, with the Brazilian coming a long way out of his box but fails to win the race, Valery steers the ball towards the empty goal, but without enough pace, and Henderson gets back to clear off the line.
- Southampton are the first team in Premier League history to beat all seven winners of the competition in the season after a title win.
- Liverpool have failed to score in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since May 2018, having found the net in each of their 21 previous league games.
- Liverpool’s first shot on target in this match came in the 75th minute courtesy of Sadio Mané – it’s the Reds’ longest wait for an attempt on target in a Premier League match since December 2015 (89th minute vs Newcastle).
- After having eight shots on target in their 7-0 victory over Crystal Palace, Liverpool have mustered just seven attempts on target across their last three Premier League matches.
- Danny Ings’ opener for Southampton was his 50th Premier League goal, and at 01:51 it was the earliest he’s ever scored in the competition.
- Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse has provided four assists in the Premier League this season – only in 2014-15 (6) has he had more in a single top-flight campaign.
- Southampton keeper Fraser Forster kept his first Premier League clean sheet since October 2017 (1-0 vs West Bromwich Albion), though this was just his 13th appearance in the competition since then.
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