09282022

Southampton 3-2 Liverpool: Super sub Sadio Mane inspires stunning fightback as Jurgen Klopp’s men throw away lead

Jurgen Klopp puffed out his cheeks and shook his head in bewilderment, as he looked at the scene unfolding in front of him.

To his left Ronald Koeman and his brother Erwin were engulfing Sammy Lee in a bear hug. Further down the pitch, Southampton’s players were being stopped by stewards from jumping into the crowd, while to his right Liverpool’s fans were standing in stunned silence.

Liverpool, who had arrived on the south coast with ambitions of qualifying for Europe, had capitulated and in the space of 20 chaotic minutes the dream of reaching the top four had gone up in smoke as they buckled under a barrage of pressure.  

Sadio Mane (second from left) celebrates with his team-mates after coming off the bench to score Southampton's winner against Liverpool

Sadio Mane (second from left) celebrates with his team-mates after coming off the bench to score Southampton’s winner against Liverpool

Mane collected the ball after Cuco Martina had won it from Joe Allen and fired beyond Simon Mignolet to win the game in the 86th minute

Mane collected the ball after Cuco Martina had won it from Joe Allen and fired beyond Simon Mignolet to win the game in the 86th minute

Mane's low strike beats Mignolet and nestles into the back of Liverpool's net for his second goal of the afternoon at St Mary's

Mane’s low strike beats Mignolet and nestles into the back of Liverpool’s net for his second goal of the afternoon at St Mary’s

Jurgen Klopp looks dejected (centre) as Southampton manager Ronald Koeman  (second right) celebrates Mane's late winner

Jurgen Klopp looks dejected (centre) as Southampton manager Ronald Koeman (second right) celebrates Mane’s late winner

MATCH FACTS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE

Southampton: Forster, Martina, van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand, Steven Davis, Romeu (Ward-Prowse 69), Clasie (Wanyama 45), Tadic (Mane 45), Long, Pelle

Subs not used: Cedric, Yoshida, Juanmi, Stekelenburg

Booked: Mane 

Goals: Mane 64 and 86, Pelle 83

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren (Skrtel 45), Sakho, Flanagan, Lallana, Allen (Ojo 87), Can, Coutinho, Sturridge (Benteke 70), Origi.

Subs not used: Toure, Henderson, Smith, Ward

Booked: Lovren, Can, Skrtel 

Goals: Coutinho 17, Sturridge 22

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

 

 

Mane’s winning goal was a fierce strike from the edge of Liverpool’s box – CLICK HERE for more in our brilliant Match Zone

A double from Sadio Mane and another from Graziano Pelle meant a game that had firmly been in Liverpool’s control following first half strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge had gone deservedly to Southampton.

This was the first time Liverpool had blown a two-goal lead in the league since 1964 and they had nobody to blame other than themselves. If they had attacked with purpose before the break, they defended like amateurs afterwards. Southampton took full advantage.

Traffic congestion had delayed Liverpool’s arrival at St Mary’s but that proved no disruption to their preparations as they started with pace of an express train, ripping holes in Southampton’s defence every time they hurtled forward.

Southampton, it must be noted, should have been awarded a penalty in the seventh minute when Dejan Lovren – the afternoon’s pantomime baddie, booed at every opportunity by home fans who remember how left for Anfield – tripped Shane Long but referee Roger East waved all appeals away.

It looked as though Dejan Lovren pushed Shane Long over in the Liverpool penalty area but referee Roger East did not award a penalty

It looked as though Dejan Lovren pushed Shane Long over in the Liverpool penalty area but referee Roger East did not award a penalty

Philippe Coutinho (centre) scores Liverpool's first goal during their Premier League defeat against Southampton on Sunday afternoon

Philippe Coutinho (centre) scores Liverpool’s first goal during their Premier League defeat against Southampton on Sunday afternoon

Coutinho celebrates after his goal gave the visitors the lead against the run of play at St Mary's Stadium on Sunday afternoon

Coutinho celebrates after his goal gave the visitors the lead against the run of play at St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon

From that point, though, the direction of play went only one way. Liverpool, inspired by the artistry of Coutinho, began passing with purpose and soon the little No 10 produced the latest evidence to show why his team-mates call him ‘The Magician’.

Adam Lallana won possession in the 18th minute and urged him forward; Coutinho took control, skipping inside Dusan Tadic, and seized up his options before unleashing a 25-yard drive that bent away from Fraser Forster. It was a wonderful strike, one which left Klopp punching the air. 

Soon the lead was doubled and, once again, Coutinho had an input; his passes with the outside of his left foot sent Divock Origi scampering forward and with Southampton’s defence back-pedalling, he showed awareness to tee up Sturridge, whose finish was whipped emphatically past Forster

As Liverpool’s players celebrated, the TV cameras quickly cut to England head coach Roy Hodgson, who was sat in the Directors Box with his assistant Ray Lewington. Hodgson was smiling and with good reason: this was Sturridge’s most assured performance since he returned from injury.

Daniel Sturridge  scores Liverpool's second with a smart left-footed finish after some good work from Divock Origi opened the defence

Daniel Sturridge scores Liverpool’s second with a smart left-footed finish after some good work from Divock Origi opened the defence

The England striker recently returned from injury and couldn't resist the chance to show off his trademark celebration after the goal

The England striker recently returned from injury and couldn’t resist the chance to show off his trademark celebration after the goal

Joe Allen thought he'd made it 3-0 to Liverpool's  as his shot made it through a crowd of players and into the Southampton net

Joe Allen thought he’d made it 3-0 to Liverpool’s as his shot made it through a crowd of players and into the Southampton net

Liverpool's Belgian striker Divock Origi (right) reacts as referee Roger East signals after  Allen's goal was ruled out for offside

Liverpool’s Belgian striker Divock Origi (right) reacts as referee Roger East signals after Allen’s goal was ruled out for offside

Two should really have become three in the 25th minute when a move involving Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Emre Can ended at the feet of Joe Allen but the Welshman lacked belief and shot straight at Forster, who had raced out to close him down.

Grimacing and clamping his hands to head, Allen knew he should have ended the game as a contest and his mood did not improve in the 33rd minute, either, when his ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside against Mamadou Sakho. It proved to be a decisive moment, as a door was reopened to the hosts.

Half-time checked Liverpool’s momentum and Southampton emerged with renewed purpose and, five minutes after the re-start, the squandered a glorious chance to reduce the deficit when Martin Skrtel, who had replaced Lovren, was adjudged to have dragged Graziano Pelle down. 

East, ignoring Liverpool’s appeals, pointed to the spot but Mane’s penalty was superbly saved by Simon Mignolet. As Ronald Koeman spun on his heels, shaking his head in bewilderment, Klopp – a figure of perpetual animation – pumped his fists towards the away end.

Graziano Pelle of Southampton is challenged by Martin Skrtel resulting in referee Roger East awarding the home side a penalty kick

Graziano Pelle of Southampton is challenged by Martin Skrtel resulting in referee Roger East awarding the home side a penalty kick

Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet got down well to his right to push away Mane's spot-kick and preserve his side's lead 

Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet got down well to his right to push away Mane’s spot-kick and preserve his side’s lead 

Mignolet and Skrtel celebrate Mane's missed penalty but the Liverpool duo would end the afternoon on the losing side

Mignolet and Skrtel celebrate Mane’s missed penalty but the Liverpool duo would end the afternoon on the losing side

Senegalese midfielder Mane (second left) scores his team's first goal of the game as Mignolet fails to keep out his strike

Senegalese midfielder Mane (second left) scores his team’s first goal of the game as Mignolet fails to keep out his strike

Mane celebrates with team-mate Long after making up for his missed penalty with the first of his two goals on Sunday afternoon

Mane celebrates with team-mate Long after making up for his missed penalty with the first of his two goals on Sunday afternoon

That should have demoralised Southampton once and for all but, with Liverpool retreating and stopping doing all the good things they had shown in the opening 45 minutes, slowly they got a foothold back in the game and it seemed inevitable a chance would come.

So it proved in the 64th minute when Jon Flanagan was caught in possession by Pelle and the Italian rolled a pass into his striker partner’s path and Mane did the rest, thumping a left-footed drive past Mignolet. In that moment, the pendulum swung inexorably.

Though Liverpool had one break in the 73rd minute that finished with Christian Benteke dragging a shot wide after Lallana had set him free, they were effectively dead as an attacking force and it became a question of whether they could hang on.

The answer, emphatically, was no. Parity arrived in the 84th minute when James Ward-Prowse cushioned a ball to long, who teed up Pelle to smash a drive beyond Mignolet and then, in the next attack, Mane finished the job, capitalising on another defensive mix up to spark pandemonium.

Pelle got the ball on his left foot before powerfully shooting past Mignolet to draw Southampton level with a brilliant finish

Pelle got the ball on his left foot before powerfully shooting past Mignolet to draw Southampton level with a brilliant finish

Southampton striker Pelle celebrates after scoring his side's second goal to equalise during the Premier League clash at St Mary's

Southampton striker Pelle celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal to equalise during the Premier League clash at St Mary’s

Liverpool boss Klopp shakes hands with Origi as his players stand dejected at the end of the Barclays Premier League match

Liverpool boss Klopp shakes hands with Origi as his players stand dejected at the end of the Barclays Premier League match

 

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