Liverpool put their lead in danger, by losing against Southampton 0-1 on Monday evening, at the end of the Premier League’s 17th round.
Former Liverpool striker Danny Ings scored the game’s only goal in the second minute.
Liverpool remained top of the league standings with 33 points, with only goal difference against Manchester United, who has a postponed match, while Southampton raised its score to 29 points in 6th place.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp relied on the usual 4-3-3 play style, and involved his captain, Jordan Henderson, as a center back alongside Fabinho, with the support of two fullbacks Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcantara played the focal point with the help of Georginio Wijnaldum, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain moved behind the usual attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
As for Southampton coach Ralph Hasenhüttl, he resorted to the 4-4-2 method of playing, where the defensive line was from Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens and Ryan Bertrand, and there were Moussa Djenepo and Stuart Armstrong on the wings, James Ward-Prowse and Ibrahima Diallo were in the middle The field, while Theo Walcott moved in as supportive striker Danny Ings.Embed from Getty Images
Southampton surprised their visitors with an early goal in the second minute, when Ward-Prowse executed a free kick in a dropped fashion, and the ball reached Ings, who lobbed it above goalkeeper Alison Becker towards the far post.
Salah passed the ball to Firmino, who hit the ball next to the far post in the 5th minute, and Alexander-Arnold executed a corner kick that Southampton did not handle well, and the ball reached Henderson, who fired over the goal in the 13th minute.
Despite serious quick attempts by Liverpool to equalize, the team’s performance slowly decreased, amid a tight defense from Southampton, which did not stop progressing to the Liverpool goal, so Djenepo tried his luck with a long-range shot that went away from Liverpool’s goal in the 26th minute.
Southampton was forced to make an early substitution, through which the injured Djenepo took out and put in place Nathan Tella, and Thiago passed the ball to Mane on the left side, and the Senegalese international hit the ball with his right over the goal in the 34th minute.Embed from Getty Images
Southampton came close to consolidating their lead with a second goal in the 40th minute, the ball reached substitute Tella, who prepared it for himself before he shot a curved ball from the edge of the penalty area slightly away from the goal.
In first-half’s additional time, Mane did a good job in lifting a cross that reached the head of Salah, whose attempt rose from Southampton’s goal.Embed from Getty Images
Robertson set off on the left side, lifting a distinctive cross that passed in front of his team’s attacking trio, and the danger was cleared in the 47th minute.Embed from Getty Images
The referee refused to award a penalty kick in Liverpool’s favor in the 52nd minute after using VAR, although Wijnaldum’s shot touched Stephens’ arm inside the area.
Walcott tried his luck with a long-range shot above Liverpool’s goal in the 55th minute, and Klopp made his first substitution by involving Xherdan Shaqiri in place of Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Stephens stood up in front of Mane’s shot in the 58th minute, and Ings responded with a weak shot that Alison had easily caught in the 66th minute.Embed from Getty Images
Firmino got rid of Stephens to create space for himself, to pass the ball towards Mane in front of the goal, but Diallo cut the pass in the right time in the 68th minute.
And there was a dangerous chance for the host team to score a draw in the 74th minute, when Robertson’s pass reached Mane, who tried to shoot with his left inside the penalty area, but his attempt was weak and was caught by goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
Thiago fired a shot from afar that settled beside the goal in the 76th minute, after which James Milner entered the Liverpool squad, replacing Alexander-Arnold.Embed from Getty Images
In the midst of Liverpool’s preoccupation with attempts to score, Southampton substitute Yan Valery caught a long ball before sending it towards the goal, but Henderson was in the right place to keep it away in the 84th minute, and in additional time Mane’s header passed over the goal.