Southampton 1-2 Liverpool was a tough game for Jurgen Klopp and co, but a vital one. It proved that the Reds still have that champions knack.
Liverpool were awful in the first-half, truth be told. They rarely threatened, struggled under Southampton’s press, and generally looked tired.
No surprise on the latter, after 120 minutes against Chelsea in midweek. The first two, however, were worrying.
The impressive Sadio Mane saved the situation with a fantastic goal on halftime.
It allowed Klopp to change things with confidence, as he said after the game: “I think Southampton tried to kill our game with their formation and they played differently against Burnley obviously.
“They had a real proper fight at the back, so that gave us space on the wings. We used that but not often enough, otherwise, they would have had to run much more. We could adjust that a little bit at half-time.”
The ability to hold off the opposition and find a goal when you’re playing badly is a trait of title winners. It’s how Liverpool managed 97 points, after all. Just think back to the 1-0 win over Everton or the 3-2 win at Newcastle – the Reds found a way to win.
And they even showed it twice in the win v Southampton. There was the first-half ‘win’, thanks to Mane but the second half didn’t exactly go to plan, either.
Liverpool played very, very well at first and should have scored a couple. As it happened, Roberto Firmino got a second to set up a comfortable finish.
But Adrian’s mistake meant Liverpool needed to hold onto their lead for the final part of the game. The fact that they did, despite fatigue away from home, is a good sign.
Southampton 1-2 Liverpool showed that the potentially title-winning trait remains. Perhaps we can thank the lack of signings for that? It’s the same group who pulled it off time and time again last season, after all.