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Southampton vs Liverpool (1-0) Match Summary: Big blow for Liverpool

Coming into the game, both sides were on the back of consecutive draws. [team 8] dropped points against [team 10] and [team 20] after the incredible late win against title challengers [team 6]. The two draws allowed [team 14] to close the gap. By Monday, Liverpool and United were separated by goal difference. Moreover, this game was even more critical for Liverpool, considering the fact that United still have a game in hand.

[team 65], meanwhile, were winless in their last 4 with 1 defeat and 3 draws. The South Coast club are looking upwards and have a great chance of pushing for the top six. However, after no wins in four, they were eager to get back to winning ways.

[player 1241] started in goal for Southampton for the first time in months, with [player 1393] replacing the injured [player 31129]. It was a familiar 4-4-2 from Hasenhüttl’s side, with Ings and Walcott partnering up top.

For Liverpool, there was a massive surprise as skipper [player 323] started the in backline partnering [player 96099]. The midfield saw the return of [player 31857]and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The front three were unchanged, with the missing [player 159917] still a concern.

First-Half

Southampton started the game incredibly well, and Liverpool were struggling to deal with the heavy penetration. Soon, Southampton were awarded a free-kick from quite a long distance with [player 1155] ready to deliver. Liverpool’s defensive line was surprised when instead of delivering to the far post, Ward-Prowse played it straight in behind [player 1917]. Then, from a difficult angle, [player 1450] managed to apply the scintillating finishing touch. A well-worked free-kick that had Liverpool on the back foot inside a couple of minutes.

Liverpool didn’t look great from the restart after the goal, and Southampton could have got another goal in the first half. Thiago was struggling to get around the park to stop the Saints from progressing the ball with intent. One of Southampton’s best players, [player 978883], was replaced by [player 1494225] due to an injury that saw Djenepo in tears. This substitution culminated in a slight tweak as [player 53] shifted on the left-wing. The substitute played alongside Ings up top.

Incredibly, Liverpool did not have a single shot on target despite dominating more of the ball. The Reds had 63% of the ball with 6 shots but none on target in the first half. In comparison, Southampton had 4 with 1 on target, which was the goal. Astonishingly, 5 of those 6 Liverpool shots were taken from inside the box, but they failed to get anything on target. Defensively as well, the Saints were on top. They completed 10 tackles, 7 interceptions, and a brilliant 9 clearances.

A lot had to change for Liverpool to get something from this game with [coach 455353] in for a significant half time team talk.

Second-Half

Liverpool began the second half with higher intensity, and more forward passes. They did create a few half chances but were struggling to finish them. However, they looked much more dangerous in the second half and were on the front foot time and time again.

[player 850] struggled to impact the game, so Klopp then decided to send a skillful [player 1714] on the pitch to create something out of nothing. Liverpool kept crossing the ball and kept Southampton on their toes. Credit to the home side as their defending was immaculate. With [coach 524297] in need of more energy on the pitch, he replaced Ings with [player 581122].

Trent was having an awful game and was not creating the way he usually does for the front three. His combination with [player 4125] was nowhere to be seen, and his crosses were hopeful. As a result, [player 197] replaced the young full-back, and Liverpool kept their 4-3-3 intact. From the wide left, [player 1078] was trying everything along with [player 1389], taking on the Saints’ defenders time and time again. Interestingly, to stop Liverpool’s wide left duo from causing more problems, Hasenhüttl sent [player 581043] on the pitch to track the Scottish full-back all the way. This allowed Southampton to double in the wide areas where Liverpool are dangerous.

In the second half, Liverpool had 71% of the ball with 11 shots at goal. Still, the Reds had only 1 on target in the whole game. 7 out of those 11 second-half shots were from inside the box, but there was no finish at all. Southampton recorded an outstanding 34 clearances in the second half along with 9 interceptions.

A lot of credit has to go to the manager Hasenhüttl for his brilliant game plan and the players who executed it perfectly.

Fixture Details: [fixture 16924762]

Eye-Catching Performers

Jack Stephens (Southampton)

Stephens was behind Vestergaard, but with the injury to the Denish center half, Stephens has got a chance, and he has taken it well. He had another strong performance against the champions recording 7 clearances, 5 interceptions, and 1 tackle. Stephens also blocked an impressive 5 shots. The 26-year-old also completed 5 long balls.

With the injury to Vestergaard, Jack Stephens will be a key player for Southampton ahead this season.

Disappointing Displays

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)

A player whose career was disrupted with a colossal injury is finally back in Liverpool’s starting lineup. However, he is yet to make a positive impact on the pitch. Against Southampton, he was poor with 0 accurate crosses out of 4 attempted along with no key passes. Dribbling is his asset, but he didn’t complete a single dribble in this game, which determines why Liverpool struggled to beat the press. Defensively as well, he was not involved enough from a pressing perspective.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

One of Liverpool’s most creative players, Trent had an abysmal game against Southampton. The Saints’ excellent pressing forced Trent to play backward. The 22-year-old was all over the place defensively as he was dribbled past twice. He also made the error that led to the game’s only goal. He will have to up his game by quite some margin to help Liverpool regain their form.

Liverpool had the chance to extend their lead at the top but in form, Southampton displayed a great performance

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