Premier League
SouthamptonSouthampton1LiverpoolLiverpool2

Southampton 1-2 Liverpool: Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip goals take title race to final day

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at St Mary's Stadium
Liverpool goal
Liverpool are on 89 points after 37 Premier League matches, with leaders Manchester City on 90

Liverpool have taken the Premier League title race down to the final day of the season by coming from behind to win at Southampton.

Jurgen Klopp's side knew defeat would hand the title to Manchester City - while even a draw would effectively end the challenge because of their inferior goal difference.

And it looked as if Liverpool might have a struggle on their hands when Nathan Redmond gave Southampton a 13th-minute lead with a curling right-foot shot beyond Alisson.

Liverpool, with nine changes from the side that won the FA Cup by beating Chelsea on penalties at Wembley on Saturday, once again showed their resilience and reserves of strength as Takumi Minamino levelled before half-time with a thumping drive against the club where he spent a spell on loan last season.

The pressure built after the break and Liverpool took a deserved lead after 67 minutes when Joel Matip sent an instinctive looping header over Saints' keeper Alex McCarthy.

City will still retain their title with victory over Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium but Liverpool have pushed them all the way again and ensured the fight will go down to the wire.

Liverpool dig deep again

Southampton 1-2: Jurgen Klopp praises 'unbelievable' Liverpool performance

Liverpool were under pressure going into this game - and not just because they could not afford a slip.

Manager Klopp had to make a host of changes because of tired legs following that gruelling FA Cup final win and also had to contend with injuries to major figures Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

This was a test of the nerve as well as the depth of Liverpool's squad and, as at Aston Villa last week when they also fell behind, an examination of their ability to survive adversity and demonstrate powers of recovery.

All the tests were passed in convincing style as Liverpool dominated once they had recovered from shock of Redmond's outstanding goal.

In the absence of Salah and Sadio Mane, and with Luis Diaz on the bench, Roberto Firmino gave an outstanding display of touch and intelligent running, putting in a tireless shift that earned him a standing ovation when he was substituted late on.

Ibrahima Konate has proved to be an outstanding signing and he was once again a tower of strength in defence, ensuring Liverpool did not miss Van Dijk - his defensive partner Matip scoring the winner with what looked almost like a reflex action header, albeit a highly effective one.

The only blot on Liverpool's night was an injury to the luckless Joe Gomez, who fell awkwardly under a touchline challenge and limped off disconsolately at half-time with the consoling arm of goalkeeper Alisson around his shoulder.

Klopp delivered his tradition triple fist pump in front of Liverpool's travelling fans at the final whistle.

He will know City are still in pole position and have the title's destiny in their own hands but all Liverpool could do was put them through a final-day test and this was mission accomplished.

Southampton run out of steam

Southampton 1-2 Liverpool: Defeat by Liverpool 'frustrating' - Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was hoping for a vibrant display from his side after feeling the full force of fan discontent following their 3-0 defeat at Brentford last time out.

The Austrian faced chants of 'you don't know what you're doing' and 'sacked in the morning' during the dismal defeat in west London on 7 May.

This was a tame response, ending as he led his team around a largely deserted stadium on a lap of appreciation after the final whistle.

Saints had the boost of that early lead but never carried the air of a team confident it would be maintained. Liverpool confirmed their obvious superiority while the home side looked nervous, especially when playing out from the back, where they played themselves into trouble on several occasions.

Southampton lie in 15th place, nearing the end of the season in which moments of promise were eventually overshadowed by disappointment. This is exactly where they finished last season and they have to win at Leicester City on Sunday to equal last term's points tally.

Now Hasenhuttl will hope to keep hold of star man James Ward-Prowse this summer and get some much-needed financial backing from the club's new owners, the company backed by Serb media mogul Dragan Solak.

Player of the match

Roberto FirminoRoberto Firmino

with an average of 7.85

Southampton

  1. Squad number11Player nameRedmond
    Average rating

    6.06

  2. Squad number2Player nameWalker-Peters
    Average rating

    5.48

  3. Squad number4Player nameLyanco
    Average rating

    5.24

  4. Squad number5Player nameStephens
    Average rating

    5.14

  5. Squad number24Player nameElyounoussi
    Average rating

    5.12

  6. Squad number22Player nameSalisu
    Average rating

    5.12

  7. Squad number18Player nameBroja
    Average rating

    5.10

  8. Squad number1Player nameMcCarthy
    Average rating

    5.08

  9. Squad number23Player nameTella
    Average rating

    5.03

  10. Squad number17Player nameS Armstrong
    Average rating

    4.78

  11. Squad number27Player nameDiallo
    Average rating

    4.74

  12. Squad number10Player nameAdams
    Average rating

    4.65

  13. Squad number6Player nameOriol Romeu
    Average rating

    4.57

  14. Squad number8Player nameWard-Prowse
    Average rating

    3.97

Liverpool

  1. Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
    Average rating

    7.85

  2. Squad number32Player nameMatip
    Average rating

    7.66

  3. Squad number18Player nameMinamino
    Average rating

    7.66

  4. Squad number5Player nameKonaté
    Average rating

    7.63

  5. Squad number21Player nameTsimikas
    Average rating

    7.58

  6. Squad number1Player nameAlisson
    Average rating

    7.40

  7. Squad number7Player nameMilner
    Average rating

    7.39

  8. Squad number14Player nameHenderson
    Average rating

    7.29

  9. Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
    Average rating

    7.22

  10. Squad number67Player nameElliott
    Average rating

    7.02

  11. Squad number27Player nameOrigi
    Average rating

    7.00

  12. Squad number17Player nameJones
    Average rating

    6.83

  13. Squad number12Player nameGomez
    Average rating

    6.72

  14. Squad number8Player nameKeïta
    Average rating

    6.58

Line-ups

Southampton

Formation 5-4-1

  • 1McCarthy
  • 2Walker-Peters
  • 4Lyanco
  • 5StephensBooked at 74mins
  • 22Salisu
  • 11Redmond
  • 24Elyounoussi
  • 8Ward-Prowse
  • 27DialloSubstituted forRomeuat 71'minutes
  • 23TellaBooked at 69minsSubstituted forS Armstrongat 71'minutes
  • 18BrojaSubstituted forAdamsat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Romeu
  • 7Long
  • 9A Armstrong
  • 10Adams
  • 13Caballero
  • 17S Armstrong
  • 19Djenepo
  • 35Bednarek
  • 43Valery

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 12GomezSubstituted forHendersonat 45'minutes
  • 32Matip
  • 5Konaté
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 67ElliottSubstituted forOrigiat 65'minutes
  • 7Milner
  • 17Jones
  • 18Minamino
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forKeïtaat 83'minutes
  • 20Jota

Substitutes

  • 6Thiago Alcántara
  • 8Keïta
  • 14Henderson
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 23Díaz
  • 26Robertson
  • 27Origi
  • 46R Williams
  • 62Kelleher
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
31,588

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home29%
Away71%
Shots
Home4
Away24
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home1
Away9
Fouls
Home6
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Southampton 1, Liverpool 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Liverpool 2.

  3. Post update

    Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton).

  5. Post update

    James Milner (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Southampton).

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mohammed Salisu.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Diogo Jota (Liverpool).

  9. Post update

    Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Konstantinos Tsimikas with a cross following a corner.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by James Ward-Prowse.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Curtis Jones (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Takumi Minamino.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

  14. Post update

    Lyanco (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Naby Keïta replaces Roberto Firmino.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Che Adams replaces Armando Broja.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool).

  18. Post update

    Armando Broja (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Curtis Jones.

  20. Booking

    Jack Stephens (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Everything you need to know about your Premier League team banner
  • Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever before - here's everything you need to know to make sure you never miss a moment
BBC Sport banner footer

Comments

Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.

3350 comments