Southampton vs Liverpool result: Five things we learned as Danny Ings beats former club

Southampton 1-0 Liverpool: Ings nets in the opening stages and the Reds cannot find a route to goal

Karl Matchett
Monday 04 January 2021 22:06 GMT
Southampton celebrate
Southampton celebrate (Getty Images)

Liverpool suffered a second Premier League defeat of the season, losing 1-0 at Southampton on Monday night.

The home side were ahead with their first attack inside two minutes, with Danny Ings lobbing home a fantastic finish after the Reds were caught out with a free-kick down the left channel.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah had chances to score an equaliser, while Saints’ best chance of the rest of the first half fell to sub Nathan Tella, who fired wide.

READ MORE: Premier League fixtures and table - all matches by date and kick-off time

After the restart it was one-way traffic, but Liverpool couldn’t find a route to goal despite the likes of Mane seeing far more of the ball and two penalty appeals being turned away.

Here are five things we learned from the game at St. Mary’s.

Former forwards

Liverpool’s habit of signing players from Southampton was rather legendary for a few years, though in these starting line-ups there was one ex-forward in place for either team: Danny Ings and Sadio Mane.

Ings, of course, made his presence felt immediately: a clever run and instinctive lob without looking, over Alisson and into the far corner.

Mane had plenty of the ball down the left wing for Liverpool, and created his own best chance - but spooned a shot well over the bar from a promising position.

The Senegal international was the best player for the Reds after the break as they tried to find a route to goal, but he was thwarted by a last-ditch block more than once and off-target with a header near the end.

Forster’s return

The Saints ‘keeper hadn’t played a league game for Saints since April 2019, but he got the recall here with Alex McCarthy unavailable.

Forster had fallen a long way from being in the England squad for multiple international tournaments, but he performed well with what was asked of him on Monday night.

One or two early passes went astray and might have knocked his nerve, but thereafter he was solid, quick off his line and decent with dealing with aerial balls.

Further game time might depend on when McCarthy returns, but it’s another step back in the right direction following his loan spell with Celtic last year.

Changing form

Southampton hadn’t won a league game against a side outside the bottom four since 6 November - so this was a huge victory for them after four on the spin without a win of any kind.

They hadn’t even scored in their last three and rarely looked like doing so after the early strike here, but that proved enough with a great rearguard showing.

For Liverpool, the worry goes on: three in a row now without a win themselves, losing the lead at the top and without a goal in the last two.

It’s also a first win for Ralph Hasenhuttl against Jurgen Klopp since the two came to England.

Hanging on

Coming into the match, Saints had dropped 44 points from winning positions under Hasenhuttl, more than anyone else in the league since his appointment.

Perhaps, then, they felt some amount of trepidation as the match wound down and the one-goal lead remained, with Liverpool constantly pushing forward in ever-greater numbers.

A couple of seasons ago, late goals and winners were a hallmark of this Liverpool team; this term it hasn’t been anywhere near as relentless late on.

Chances certainly came, but without conviction, without the absolute surety that a goal would follow, and most efforts were rushed and off-target.

Top clash

Liverpool’s next league game just happens to be against Manchester United, who by that time could be clear at the top if they win their game against Burnley next week.

The Reds have already lost three points more this season than they did in the whole of 2019/20 and Jurgen Klopp must find a way to quickly arrest the slide in form and fortunes - especially with Man City, the real title rivals, seeming to be finding form right now.

There’s still a long way to go, but this is a drop-off most unlike the best runs Liverpool have shown under Klopp and for all the defensive injuries, the attacking players are still there and not quite finding the route to goal.

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