Saints V Liverpool The Verdict Sunday, 7th Apr 2019 11:18
A great performance for Saints but ultimately our desire to go for the win was a gamble that did not pay off as Liverpool won it on the break.
Saints are playing without fear these days and against one of the nest two teams in the League they took the game to them and deservedly took the lead, however ultimately in trying to win the game Ralph Hasenhuttl took a gamble which sadly didn't pay off.
Going into the game we knew our strengths and we knew our weaknesses, we knew that when we beat Spurs we got away with it with a succession of missed chances by the visitors, ironically we probably played better against Liverpool in losing than we did against Spurs and winning.
There were no surprises in the Saints starting line up, only on the bench where it was pretty much an attacking line up.
Shane Long was in for Danny Ings who was unable to play against his parent club, but tht paid divdends after only 9 minutes when the Irishman pulled off his man and fired home to send St Mary's wild.
The game then settled into a pattern, Liverpool had a lot of the ball but Saints were digging in and going on the break with speed and as they do these day were playing without fear.
But they were not to lead at the break and it would be Liverpool who equalised on the break although TV replays subsequently showed that Salah was a yard offside as he went down the line and crossed for Keita to head home with Gunn almost keeping it out.
The second half followed the same pattern, Saints stayed strong although again TV replays showed they should have had a penalty and as the game headed into the final 25 minutes Ralph Hasenhuttl was looking to win it sending on Sims for Long and going for the jugular, however it was to be a gamble that would not pay off.
With 10 minutes to go Saints were pushing for a winner and got caught on the break, Salah getting the ball and running and running and running before firing home a goal that cannot be argued was pure class.
On came Armstrong and Austin to try and retrieve the game, but it was too late and we were a little unbalanced and it was Liverpool who would seal the game and make sure there would be no shocks with 4 minutes left.
Saints fans were down but not out though, they recognised the effort the team has put in and realise that if we play like this in the final games we will be fine, we now play with confidence and without fear, last season and indeed in the fixture at Anfield we did not give Liverpool a game, we were like frightened rabbits, this time we stood up like men and gave as good as we have got.
But as I said in the preview we all know the weaknesses in the side and they were exposed, but that will not faze us in the run in, we will get the job done and then hopefully in the summer sort those weak links out and then we will be a decent side again.
Friday night was nothing to be ashamed of, only Manchester City have beaten Liverpool and most teams lose, we gave them as good a game as any team this season, next season will be better still.
Good article Nick - very balanced and sums up Saints well. Only one point to make - once again on the receiving end of a bad linesman decision against a top 6 team. Easy to be angry about referees but the linesmen in the league are truly shocking - we'd be better off with robots!
An almost perfect start that could only have been bettered had Van Dick put into his own net rather than clearing the cross bar. Much to admire particularly Valery who was not beaten once by Mane. Shame, but not a surprise that officials missed Salah offside for the equalizer. Didn't understand why Sims was called back after Van Dick jumped all over JWP, if anything we should have been given a free kick surely.
Hope we get a good result next game so we can experiment without fear in the last few games.
SaintBrock's comments in the Players Rating section reference J W P's contribution to the team's efforts on Friday is well worth a look. Football humour at it's very best.
I wonder also if our manager could stop Redmond from making inane grining gestures every time he misses a perfectly decent scoring opportunity. Perhaps he could also remind him that there is no reason to talk during the game to oposition managers. His behaviour gives me the impression that he thinks he is a better player than he actually is.
Along with the quote that Saints' 2019 performances are top 6 level , we put them to the sword in the first half, and it's hard to think of another game this season where Liverpool were so non-plussed. This game, together with the away fixture at Man.Utd. shows that we are capable of giving the top sides a run for their money, but sadly it doesn't always last for 95 minutes
"Whiteknight" made the point the man running the line missed /avoided / the obvious decision when Salah was offside prior to their first goal..if that had been Saints, he may have been quicker to piut up his flag. Roll on VAR. If a decision does go against us - at least we see if it's a fair - at present it's a lottery with the prize going to the" top side".
As for the game itself...our side that was down in the drop zone with bad form and worse team selections up until Ralph arrived, has managed to turn it around, and given those players at his disposal being matched up against the £ multi-million LIverpool side that Klopp put out... IMHO the real winner of this game was Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Note the positives and fully agree. It should be noted that we played well as we did against United but we still lost and we conceded 3 goals. Simply put we don't have the players to get the result the performance deserved.
The manager is doing his bit, the players on the whole are responding and the fans are doing their bit.
The off field staff need to step up and do their bit. Whatever happens in the summer will speak volumes. Let's hope it's a positive sound .
A very good balanced report. When I got home after the match I was fed up as I thought we could have got a draw. At times Saints were very good and Liverpool were struggling. It shows how much we have improved but we are not getting the results because we cannot keep up the pressure. There were a higher number of indifferent performances from Saints players than I would have expected at this match. We never get fully behind Saints when we have a go at players on the other side. The booing of VVD was tiresome and does not help Saints.
reality is Liverpool like united had an off day but we still could not win or draw yet again we dont work hard enough when it matters even if was offside Liverpool chased a ball to the touchline we were slow , second goal great finish why was he not taken out on half way line 3rd goal yoshi was jogging back when firmino was one on one no cover cross goal. We are still in relagation zone relying on cardiff to be worst than us 40 yrs a saints supporter now im done as a season ticket holder love new manager but no faith in board bar before game have choice larger or beer my bar had no beer that is pathetic shows complete lack of respect of supporters our club will be in relegation battle next year as we will not support manager
Wasn’t expecting a win, but was really pleased with the way we played. I thought we were the better team for half an hour, hard to believe the transformation RH has produced from our players Vestergaard had a great game. At the end of the day the team who are in 1st place beat the team that are in 16th place We didn’t embarrass ourselves and should be pleased with that and how far we have come under RH. Fingers crossed the board take note and back Ralph in the summer.
Teams playing good systems but without obvious stars succeed when every player is 100% focused, playing at his best and is alert and confident. Once you dent any of those conditions the system breaks down as we saw on Saturday after conceding the second goal. In general any substitution thereafter tend to disrupt the system used that day further.
A team full of stars but not much of a system like Liverpool rely much more on individual skill and moments of individual genius and pack their bench with similar such skilful individual players. Any substitutions therefore have little impact on their style of play and may actually enhance the team performance if individual players find their moment of genius.
Hence taking off Long and later Vestergaard more or less wrecked us whereas bringing on Henderson was the key for them.