Sluggish Reds bailed out by individual brilliance

Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn diving in vain to stop Liverpool forward Sadio Mane's curling effort, which gave the Reds the lead at St Mary's Stadium. They went on to win 2-1. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn diving in vain to stop Liverpool forward Sadio Mane's curling effort, which gave the Reds the lead at St Mary's Stadium. They went on to win 2-1. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Southampton 1

Liverpool 2


LONDON • Superb individual goals by forwards Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a 2-1 Premier League win at Southampton yesterday, although a mistake by goalkeeper Adrian meant that the Reds had to hang on to clinch all three points.

Liverpool now have six points from two games after their opening 4-1 home win over Norwich City last week.

The result at St Mary's Stadium yesterday also meant that Jurgen Klopp's men are top of the table, but either champions Manchester City or Tottenham, who clashed later yesterday at the Etihad, can leapfrog them.

Mane believes that Liverpool stuck together to grind out the win.

He said on the BBC: "What a game, it was not an easy game but you have to expect a tough game like this at this stage of the season.

"After playing 120 minutes on Wednesday (in the Uefa Super Cup) it was not easy and we know it would be difficult. It... took us a little bit of time to get going.

"But we got the three points and I think we deserved it. Once we scored the first goal, it was easier."

On scoring against his former club, the Senegalese said: "I'm sorry it is against my old team and sorry I have to score, but I'm wearing a Liverpool shirt now.

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    Aston Villa 1 Bournemouth 2 
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"Southampton was a very good step for me, I have big respect for this club. It is an amazing place. I learnt a lot here and they are very nice people. But it is part of football and you have to deal with it."

Looking weary in the opening 30 minutes after their 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in the Super Cup in Istanbul on Wednesday, Liverpool weathered waves of Saints attacks before Mane fired them ahead on the stroke of half-time.

The forward teed himself up on the edge of the penalty area and curled a rasping shot past home goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who was left clutching thin air.

The European champions dominated after the break and missed several chances before Firmino picked up a loose ball, side-stepped a defender and drove a crisp low shot past Gunn in the 71st minute.

But the visitors barely hung on in the closing stages after a howler by their stand-in goalkeeper Adrian gifted the home side a lifeline, with the Spaniard's poor clearance rebounding off former Liverpool striker Danny Ings into the back of the net.

"I was nervous because it wasn't over," said Mane of the nervy finish.

"We had another 10 minutes to go. It was tough for us and of course we expect that here. It can happen, it is part of football."

Barring the slight blemish, Klopp could rejoice after he reached 300 league points in the least number of games as Liverpool manager.

The German reached the mark in 146 games, beating the 150 set by Kenny Dalglish.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 18, 2019, with the headline 'Sluggish Reds bailed out by individual brilliance'. Print Edition | Subscribe