6th April, 2019
Liverpool got some real scare Friday evening as Southampton almost derailed their title hopes in the British Premier League. The Reds had to dig real deep to overcome their hosts in a game in which Mo Salah also ended his recent goals drought by helping his team secure a 3-1 win at the final whistle.
A huge load was lifted off Salah’s heart as he scored a brilliant solo goal which was then followed by Jordan Henderson’s late strike as Liverpool won 3-1 at Southampton and moved above Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
Southampton went into an early lead as Shane Long scored his 50th Premier League goal only for Naby Keita’s first strike for Liverpool ensured the scores were level at the interval.
As for Mo Salah, his dry spell has been well-documented but he ended his eight-game wait for a goal in the 80th minute, embarking on a long solo run before finishing superbly.
Thereafter, captain Jordan Henderson then made sure of the win for the Reds with four minutes to go by turning home a Roberto Firmino low cross, as Klopp’s men went two points clear at the top, albeit having played a game more than City.
It was a late start for Liverpool and Southampton led in the ninth minute.
Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand was given too much time and space to deliver a left-wing cross that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg flicked on at the near post, with Long left unmarked to sweep home.
Thereafter, Sadio Mane directed a free header straight at Angus Gunn in response before Virgil van Dijk turned another dangerous Bertrand cross over his own crossbar.
The host’s goalkeeper was beaten in the 36th minute, though, Liverpool keeping Southampton pegged in and Keita heading home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross at the end of a sustained period of pressure.
Liverpool coach Klopp had left James Milner and Henderson out of the starting line-up but he turned to the duo early in the second half as Liverpool struggled to break Southampton down.
Liverpool’s Keita appealed for a penalty but appeared to go down easily under Maya Yoshida’s challenge, with Liverpool needing Salah to break his drought to nudge ahead.
Liverpool’s much sought after goal came from a Southampton corner, with Henderson sending Salah on a long run through the Saints half, the Egypt forward keeping cool to beat Gunn from the edge of the box.
Southampton had no option at this stage but to throw men forward in search of an equaliser and Liverpool duly killed the game with a clinical break, with Firmino teeing up Henderson as the Reds moved back above City on the league table.
With the way Liverpool struggled in the second half, it seemed like the advantage would go to Manchester City.
As it stands now, Pep Guardiola’s side will have to wait until a week on Sunday to respond to Liverpool’s latest late show, when the defending champions go to Crystal Palace.
Now not only is the title race looking set to go to the wire but also the fight against relegation could do the same, with Southampton still only five points clear of the bottom three after surrendering their lead.