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Football News: Southampton v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Southampton v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Southampton v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 


Liverpool never do things the easy way and once againthey proved it last night. Southampton were right 'up' for it and gave almost as good as they got, just let down by the lack of a clinical finisher (which Ings might well have given them). Saints were extremely impressive playing the attacking, pressing game that Hasenhuttl is known for and gave Liverpool a real fright.

Clearly full of confidence and energy, the home side were impressive and look like they are being turned into a very good unit. Next season they could be a dark horse bet for a European place, if they continue in this kind of form. They look capable of giving anyone a game, but they do need to sharpen up at the top end, Redmond, Long and Austin are simply not good enough.

Liverpool look like a team that are tense and have it all to play for, with a back four that is becoming just van Dijk holding it together defensively and Alisson looks like he has lost confidence in them. With a lot left to play for this season, that really needs to be sorted quickly. Also I do wonder why the penalty was not given, as it looked a clearcut penalty to me, the player slid in and got nothing on the ball.

 


Hasenhuttl - you have to give a lot of praise to Hasenhuttl for being brave and going for the win, even when Liverpool finally got in front. There was no suggestion of giving up and playing safe at any stage, though they did look to slow the game down. Hasenhuttl constantly told his players to take the game to Liverpool when they had the ball. His tactical plan certainly worked in the early stages, as Saints were by far the better side for most of the first half.

It is no wonder their form has picked up under him, as he has them playing really well and looking once more a challenger for the best of the rest. They attack with pace and are well organised at the back. However, it must be pointed out that, despite my praise for his bravery, Hasenhuttl's subs did not work at all. Rating: 6.5.

 

Gunn - little to judge him on in this game, he was not truly tested enough, other than the 3 goals. Maybe he could have done better with the first, possibly, but I personally would not blame him for that. Looks a good, solid keeper, but looked to lack in terms of his distribution, which was a bit erratic. Rating: 5.5.

 

Bednarek - has a real good understanding with his defensive partners, though they do all lack real top class quality. Did get stripped for pace when Mane was able to isolate him one-on-one, but he did about as much as he could do in the situation. Rating: 7.

 

Yoshida - most of the time he was the free man at the back and he made sure to come across and cover when needed, making one particularly good block when Firmino looked to be in. Rating: 7.5.

 

Vestergaard - worked really well and dealt with a lot of high balls, but did get caught out for pace a couple of times. It was also noticeable he strayed further forward than the other two centre-backs when Saints had the ball. With his lack of pace, that could have been a space to be exposed. Rating: 6.5.

 

Valery - has come on in leaps and bounds since his first couple of appearances. The first time I saw him for Saints I was actually asking on their site if he was always that bad. He has certainly answered that question emphatically since then with some really good performances. He did struggle with his positioning, never sure whether to push onto Robertson or drop back and deal with Mane. In the main though, he got it right and kept Mane about as quiet as he has been in over a month. Rating: 7.

 

Bertrand - did not do as much in the attacking third as Valery on the opposite flank but defended well in the main. A solid game. Rating: 6.5.

 

Ward-Prowse - his dead balls are, well, deadly. The delivery is fantastic. He also got forward extremely well and caused a lot of problems for Liverpool's defence. Going back the other way he was struggling, especially in the final minutes when the subs were made to go for it. He lacks the mindset to provide good protection to the defence, but his offensive contribution does make up for that. Rating: 7.5.

 

Romeu - a good solid performance, protects the defence well and is not too shabby on the ball either. Does lack a bit of mobility and was starting to look laboured towards the end before he was subbed off. Rating: 6.5.

 

Hojbjerg - Southampton's outstanding player who is growing into the captain's role. Works hard, supports the attack, can pass and shoot and provides decent protection to the defence. Looks perfectly suited to the system they are playing. If they had forwards at his level, they would be nipping away at the heels of the top 6. Rating: 8.

 

Redmond - has pace and some skill but his end product is so often completely lacking. A couple of times he just ran the ball off the pitch trying to run with it, showing a real lack of awareness of where he was on the pitch. Until he improves his awareness and develops some kind of end product, he will hold them back. Rating: 5.

 

Long - had the sense to play on Matip, and mostly had the beating of him, and he scored a goal, but he just is not good enough, despite all his huff and puff. He misses far too many chances and it has cost them again. For a striker with such pace and aerial prowess it is bizarre how bad he actually is in front of goal. Rating: 5.

 

Subs:

Sims - replaced Long in the 62nd minute. Never really got into the game and was at fault for one of the goals. Did show a flash of the pace and skill he has but nothing more. Rating: 5.

Austin - took the place of Vestergaard in the 83rd minute. For some reason he chose to take on van Dijk and that was a mistake and meant he got nothing of the ball. Rating: 4.

Armstrong - brought on in the 83rd minute to replace Romeu. Have to be honest I am not sure what he offered. He was unable to impose himself on the game at all. Rating: 4.

 


Klopp - while he picked the team most of the fans wanted him to before the game, it was not working out in the first half and he made some adjustments at half time which gave Liverpool a bit more control of the ball. He acted decisively with a double substitution after 60mins which did the trick and won the game. That double sub changed the game. Rating: 7.

 

Alisson - looked a little nervous at times. Came out for one ball and got nowhere near it. Not looking like the same confident presence he was earlier in the season. Rating: 5.

 

Alexander-Arnold - was given a real chasing defensively, though he is always a danger getting forward, and provided some lovely balls, he was so poor defensively it was no surprise he was taken off. Has a tendency to get caught ball watching. Give him a chance to get forward and deliver and it tends to be pinpoint, he just needs to work on his defending. Rating: 5.5.

 

Matip - abysmal. Truly abysmal. Ball watching on the goal, not affecting the play at all, other than to force van Dijk and Robertson to try and cope with 3 players between them while he stood motionless doing nothing. He is being targeted by opposing forwards, who all try to play against him, Kane and now Long in just the last two games got at him and he did not deal well with either. Then there is his insistence on allowing himself to be baited into loping forward with the ball repeatedly, only to end up miscontrolling it and losing it 9 times out of 10. He is simply not learning from his mistakes.

At least he did play a part in the 3rd goal, and he has got the ability to pick a pass. It is just that he simply cannot defend and van Dijk can only carry him so far. It does not help him that Liverpool's full-backs are not good defensively either, placing a lot of pressure on the two centre-backs. Klopp's loyalty to Matip is going to end up costing games if it continues. Rating: 2.

 

van Dijk - struggled at times, having to cover Matip and two full-backs struggling defensively and the midfield duo of Keita and Wijnaldum straying too far forward and not getting back quickly enough saw him stretched. Once again though, he came through almost imperiously and gradually took control. While he looked even better after Henderson came on and took the armband, that was more down to the change in the play, rather than the loss of the armband. He actually led well. Rating: 7.

 

Robertson - his crossing was not there again in this game. Strange how he can make such a mess of it at times when he clearly has the ability to deliver. When he needs to play a low ball across for a tap in he plays it high and nowhere near the onrushing forward in space. His defending was lax but he got forward well and made some excellent runs. Rating: 6.

 

Wijnaldum - had a stinker of a game. Looked out on his feet and really struggled to get up and down the pitch, often leaving the defence exposed. It has been a long, hard season for him, he looks in need of a break. Rating: 3.5.

 

Fabinho - really struggled in the first half as he was left alone by the rest of the midfield and got a little overrun. Picked up his game in the second half and improved, but it was not one of his better games overall. Rating: 5.

 

Keita - scored a goal and should have had a penalty, it was clearly a foul but he does not track back enough and was not helping out at the back as much as he should have in the first half, allowing Saints to really get at the defence. On the plus side he made chances and came close to adding a second. A mixed performance. Rating: 5.5.

 

Mane - not quite as sensational as he has been but he was still excellent and a constant menace. Links up particularly well with Keita. Rating: 7.

 

Salah - caused havoc all game and scored a great goal. That was the deciding moment and he took it with aplomb, when many would have fluffed their lines (see Sissoko for Spurs). That could turn out to be a huge moment. Rating: 7.5.

 

Firmino - was his usual all-action performance, showed some nice touches, worked hard, took a few hopeful shots. He was often the one getting back ahead of either Keita and Wijnaldum to help out. Rating: 7.

 

Subs:

Milner - replaced Wijnaldum in the 59th minute. He was excellent, despite being rather surprisingly brought on to play right back. Caused havoc going forward and was not really unduly worried defensively. Rating: 7.

Henderson - was brought on instead of Alexander-Arnold in the 59th minute. Absolutely outstanding from the moment he got on the pitch, as well as scoring he changed the game with his drive. So good to see the passion he displayed as well. That meant something to him. Rating: 8.

Lovren - chosen to replace Keita in the 88th minute. While he was not on for long, he did fairly well while there and broke up a few chances Saints had to attack. Rating: 5.5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke April 06 2019 18:54:42

 

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