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Football News: Liverpool v Southampton - A Liverpool Perspective

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


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Once again Liverpool were dominant and overpowering, despite a number of silly errors which threatened to ruin the clean sheet like a teenage Ed666 given a picture of Lynda Carter in her Wonder Woman outfit. Those errors were a real blot on the game from a Liverpool point of view. They were often in dangerous areas and they were far too numerous. It was about all Southampton had to offer in this game as they set up badly and paid the price with a bad beating that could have been so much worse on another day.

Liverpool really look like they are coming together as a team as partnerships are beginning to gel all over the pitch and players that have been struggling are improving. If they can keep players fit it augurs well for the season, with the likes of Elliott, Gomez and Jones all closing in on a return as well. This season has the feeling of being on the verge of something special once more, the team is certainly in place to do so.




Hasenhuttl got it badly wrong for this game. Going with a back 3 meant his defenders would be left 1-on-1 with Mane, Jota and Salah or end up playing as a back 5 and being penned in. Saints tried to be brave, man-marking the Liverpool front trio, which left Lyanco chasing Jota all over the pitch. To be fair to him, Salisu did a very good job against Salah compared to most that have tried, but you are asking the impossible for him to keep Salah quiet when Alexander-Arnold and Henderson are both charging down that flank too. It was the usual situation of an overload being created and it led to chances.

While the Austrian did realise his mistake and change it at half-time, the game was already well over by that point and it was too little, too late. The worrying thing from their point of view is that they still were reliant on Liverpool mistakes to get any chances, rather than crafting anything much themselves, even after the Reds took their foot off the gas. They did get chances, but you can not give Southampton much credit for almost all of them, as they were not even forcing the errors that were made. They were just bad mistakes from players caught napping or making inaccurate passes.

They did try and press at the start, but it was very easily broken, over and over again. That is something they will need to look at, it probably explains their inconsistency as their press is not strong enough. Added to that, they lack quality up front, with no natural finisher in their team. Adams is good at linking up play, but you would not trust him to score 15+ goals a season, 10 would be pushing it. Broja is raw and I have no idea what they have been working on with him in training as he had no idea how to work with his teammates at all. There was absolutely no understanding between him and the rest of the team. Worst of the lot is Armstrong, lightning quick but offers nothing else. There was not one moment in that game where it felt like they would score, even when they were through on the keeper.

The more I think about their performance, the more I realise that Broja was not alone in looking like an individual in the team. For a manager that has a reputation built on a team ethic and bringing teams together as a group to play as one, his team are strangely lacking in chemistry. The back three looked like they had never played alongside each other or in a back three before. Ward-Prowse is completely out of his depth at this level anyway, but he was neither use nor ornament in this match, Romeu was trying to do his job as well. There are a lot of signs in this performance of a team on the verge of an implosion, that the manager's time is coming to an end as what he is doing in training is clearly not working.




Klopp - while I think most of us were second guessing his decisions to stick with Konate, who has been struggling, and to put Robertson back in, who has also been struggling, Klopp showed why he is paid the big bucks. Both decisions were proven correct and both showed major improvement in their game.


Alisson - considering how little of the game Saints had, Alisson had a remarkably good game! He pulled off some excellent saves that would have been raved about for weeks if a lesser keeper had made them. As it is him, they looked routine and hardly worthy of mention. On this kind of form there is no one better.


Alexander-Arnold - another assist and another good performance but I do wish he would stop turning his back when attempting to stop a ball hit his way. He is not the only one to do it, Henderson at one point did a synchronised turning of his back with him, but he is a defender and so needs to be braver. But if that is the only real criticism of a performance, then you have to say he did well! Yet another assist, the lad is a machine.


Konate - still not perfect, but much better in this game. Having his extra pace and power is a big help when the opposition mainly relies on balls in behind. It stops the forward even getting into a place where the ball can be played his way. He just has to maintain his improvement and we will soon see the player that everyone thought he would be when he was bought.


van Dijk - once again at his best, showing he had lost none of his pace and still reads the game really well. When he is up for a game, like he was for this, there is no one to compare. Lovely technique for his goal as well.


Robertson - he is back! That was the Robertson Liverpool fans know and love. His delivery has been awful in recent weeks but he was back to something like his best against Southampton. When he is as relentless driving forward as we know he is, it is almost impossible to cope with Liverpool's attacks when Robertson gets his deliveries right.


Fabinho - once again excellent, his protection is a huge part of the way Liverpool play. It allows so much more attacking freedom for the rest, knowing they have him as an insurance policy. It is a large part of why Liverpool have been successful even though they often leave themselves light at the back. He just always seems to come out of nowhere with his Inspector Gadget like legs, that seem to shoot out telescopically and steal the ball away. His passing range is also very important and often overlooked.


Henderson - he, Salah and Alexander-Arnold link up so well down the right, constantly interchanging and covering for each other, it makes it very difficult for the opposition. It is a shame he left his shooting boots at home though, as it was a very presentable shooting chance he got that he should have done a lot better with. Other than that, there is little to criticise in this game.


Thiago - apart from a couple of lax moments, when he allowed himself to get caught on the ball, Thiago was excellent and controlled the play. The worry is that on another day those lax moments would have cost goals. Those errors are fine in the opposition half, but you cannot get caught on the ball deep in your own half like he did.


Mane - looked like he really had a point to prove against his former club and was excellent throughout. In fact, the last couple of games Mane has looked like his old self once more and is beginning to torment opponents the way we know he can. His strength, like that of Salah's, is immense and it allows him to hold off a defender and get in a position to create something. Hopefully this is him finally back to his best for the long term.


Salah - he did what Salah does, tormented the opposition and creates opportunities, as well as works hard for the team. Though, for a change, he did not score any goals. Even so, he was excellent once again.


Jota - there were real signs of him getting to grips with this role he is playing in the centre. He was helped by the way Southampton tried to play him, Lyanco chasing him around was not ideal for them and Jota was able to take advantage by dragging him all over the place and then running into the gap left behind. What most impressed me most was his link up play, which was so much better than previously. There are signs he could actually make this position his own in the short term.


Oxlade-Chamberlain - replaced Thiago in the 59th minute. He came on and tried to make something happen, but the game was petering out at that point so was not really able to make the impact he would have liked. It was noticeable that Oxlade-Chamberlain is full of running at the moment and is providing an option to attack with the ball at his feet in the centre of the pitch and beat a man.


Milner - was brought on in the 67th minute to take Henderson's place. Like Salah, you always know what you are going to get from Milner, though it is not the same kind of thing of course. Milner may be a veteran, but he provides industry and energy, as well as always being available to fill in spaces when someone else gets forward, particularly Robertson. He has a tendency to drop into the left-back slot to draw out the opposition and then play it into the spaces left.


Minamino replaced Jota in the 81st minute. With the game over, he never really was able to do enough to shine, but he certainly gave it a try. Minamino is starting to look like he is a good option up front now.

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Written by Tris Burke November 29 2021 00:28:56


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