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Redmond gives Saints lead against much-changed Liverpool
Minamino equalises as Liverpool's class tells
Matip turns in the winner almost in slow motion
Reds close to a point behind Man City, each with one match to play
To the final day of the season, and although Liverpool’s chances of winning a 20th league title remain somewhere between a wing and a prayer, there is something about the way in which they keep coming back for more that makes you wonder.
Over to Pep Guardiola and Steven Gerrard now, for the final decisive act of this Premier League season at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday where a win for the home team will deliver the Catalan’s fourth title in five years. But if it should transpire that arguably the greatest player in the history of Liverpool, and famously never a league champion there, can cause a monumental upset, then it would seem that Jurgen Klopp and his players are ready to pounce.
On this occasion it was the understudies who prevailed for the Liverpool manager, with nine changes from the XI that started the FA Cup final on Saturday. Klopp described all this underused talent at his disposal for moments such as these as like having “Ferraris in the garage”.
They play Wolverhampton Wanderers in the penultimate game of their epic season of maximum games and while it is hard to bet against City at home, it is even harder to do so against Liverpool. They are the only side still unbeaten in 2022, across 18 games and on this occasion, as with the previous Tuesday against Gerrard’s Aston Villa, they fell behind. Only to come back again with a long, determined onslaught on the opposition.
There were 14 points between the two sides in January and now at the end of May just the one. Klopp suggested that from now it was a case of what might be won rather than what might be lost. “I don’t feel like we are champions already and from my point of view I think of course City win that game [against Villa],” he said. “That’s football but we have to win our game first. Imagine we go there on Sunday with one ear on Manchester and then it’s [Raul] Jimenez – ‘Bang’ – headed it in. We will be 100 per cent focussed.”
The margins, he said, were small. “If we become champions, it will be deserved,” Klopp said, “but for that we have to win on Sunday."
Premier League standings (top six only)
This was a long way from Klopp’s usual team. There was no place in the squad for the injured Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk or Fabinho and no Trent Alexander-Arnold or Sadio Mane either. Luis Diaz, Thiago Alcantara and Andy Robertson were unused subs. Jordan Henderson came off the bench, and in the absence of these giants of the modern Anfield era there were some new matchwinners.
A crucial first half equaliser from Anfield irregular Takehiro Minamino and then a winner from Joel Matip. The veteran James Milner, at 37, delivered a fine performance in midfield and then, for the second half, at right-back. He started alongside the 19-year-old Harvey Elliott – who was born six months after Milner’s Premier League debut for Leeds United in November 2002. The FA Cup final shoot-out winning full-back Kostas Tsimikas was another key figure.
Only Ibrahim Konate and goalkeeper Alisson were retained from Saturday’s starting XI. “It was a bit touching,” Klopp said of the understudies’ performances, “I just thought ‘Wow, these boys’”. On Minamino he said, it was “a crime” he was not playing more. Curtis Jones had come in with “no rhythm” because of a lack of games. Klopp commiserated with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was an unused substitute. “It’s really tough for these boys. But whatever happens this year, happens because of this group.”
There will not have been much enjoyment in this for Ralph Hasenhuttl, whose side seemed to accept early on that there would be little possession in this, their last home game of the season. Nathan Redmond put them into a surprise early lead but there was never much sense that it would last. They cannot finish any higher than their current 15th place.
Klopp was enraged by the goal that his team conceded – his fury directed at referee Martin Atkinson, taking charge of what will likely be his penultimate Premier League game. The Liverpool manager was protesting what he saw as a foul by the Brazilian centre-back Lyanco on the striker Diogo Jota when the ball was turned over in Saints territory. From there it went forward quickly and there will have been some concern from Klopp at how easily Redmond came in from the left touchline and dispatched a right-footed shot past Alisson, deflected off Milner.
Klopp thought that his team had the equaliser when Roberto Firmino headed in a cross on 18 minutes. The Liverpool manager was already winding the first few windmills of his trademark celebration when he spotted the flag raised for offside. Minamino, who played ten games on loan at Saints last season, kept his celebrations to a minimum after an excellent finish on 27 minutes past Alex McCarthy. It was Joe Gomez’s ball into Jota and a header into the path of the Japan international.
Liverpool turned the screw after the break. Gomez had gone off at half-time with what looked like an ankle problem which he had suffered with an awkward tackle and fall. Klopp had switched Milner to right-back to take the place of Gomez and put Henderson on at half-time in midfield. The home team’s build-up from the back was looking increasingly uncertain and the longer it went on, the harder they found it.
The goal followed soon after Divock Origi’s arrival. A Tsimikas corner from the left wing that was headed on into his own area by Mohamed Elyounoussi. As Matip stooped to head it in, the ball seemed to take the decisive touch off the head of Kyle Walker-Peters. The full-back certainly had no idea where it was in the moment that followed and McCarthy was beaten. Two more games for Liverpool, and they know that for the first of those, it is City who have it all to lose.
Southampton 1 Liverpool 2, as it happened:
Unbelievable. One -nil down makes it even more special. outstanding. What more can I say about this group.
It's overwhelming, a bit touching what they did on the pitch. I told them afterwards. What I've done to some of them is a crime. Harvey didn't play for a long time., Oxlade who is in great shape is not in the squad, Curtis hasn't played on a long time.
I'm really happy. We keep going.
So many good things. Joey [Gomez] is in pain but I think he's all right.
I ask for a lot. Sometimes I'm not sure that's still OK. But is aw them enjoying it against a team that was trying to press us and they couldn't.
Martin Atkinson has done it to us before, against Manchester United and Rashford scored. Ach ... I don't care.
Second part of the season we drew three times. What the boys did was truly exceptional.
I have never had a group like this. Because we win a lot there are not a lot of times when we argue or get angry. But this group pushes each other constantly. It's absolutely outstanding. Really special. It worked out because of the boys. If it hadn't it would have been 100 per cent my responsibility.
We had to do our job. It's tricky. Aston Villa play Thursday and Sunday so it will be tough. But you have to focus on ourselves
Jordan Henderson speaks
Take it to the end. Get the job done. That's all we can do.
Lads who haven't played as much as they would have liked, they all came in and did that tonight, take that opportunity.
We're constantly in cup finals every single game, we get on with it, it's normal. We can celebrate and relax when the season's over, when the Champions League final is done and dusted.
[Do you watch City] I don't, no. They never seem to drop points. If you take it back to January and say we'd take it to the wire we would have taken that because we were so far behind and it's a real credit to the lads.
The Cup final gave us a boost. We've used the whole squad and we had fresh legs.
Hopefully Stevie and Villa can do us a favour. [Will you call him?] I might do it now actually.
James Milner speaks
We fight to the end. All we can do is take it as far as we can. It shows how ready everyone is, how ready they are mentally. The intensity, the desire to come and play the way we play.
Ali would have saved it [Redmond's shot] had it not flicked off me. Easy to make excuses, how much we put into the weekend, the emotions of it. But there's no excuses from these guys.
It was a great team performance.
All we can do is win our game [on Sunday]. They're [City are] an incredible team to come up against. Whatever happen we've done ourselves proud. It's all we've done after a reset in January [focus only on winning the next game] when we were so far behind.
Hopefully we can have two more big performances [at Anfield and Stade de France].
Rolling back the years
James Milner created six chances for Liverpool in this match, his most in a Premier League game since September 2017 vs Burnley (also 6). He’s the oldest English player on record (since 2003-04) to create six chances in a Premier League match (36 years, 133 days).
Our chief football writer Sam Wallace is at St Mary's and his report will be on this page very soon, just after we have heard from Jurgen Klopp and some of his players.
The top two
Full time Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool close to within a point of Manchester City. They host Wolves on Sunday as City take on Villa.
Klopp used the depth of quality in his squad to earn deserved victory. Roberto Firmino was named the man of the match for a fine performance of creative ingenuity.
90+3 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Konate and Tsimikas win key headers. The clock is ticking down and that's it.
90+1 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Three minutes of stoppage time are signalled and suddenly Liverpool are defending for their lives, repelling cross after cross but sitting so deep they have no out-ball. Tsimikas is very solid tonight.
90 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Finally Southampton turn it on and inject some pace and verve into their passing, getting in behind a couple of times. Milner collapses with cramp after a raid down his side goes out for a goalkick.
88 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Redmond, the one Saints player to demonstrate genuine urgency, nips in again from the left touchline to wrap his right-instep around a blistering shot. Alisson fumbles the catch but grabs it at the second attempt.
86 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Orgi almost makes Stephens pay for hooking the ball dangerously over his shoulder but he is penalised for putting his arm across the Saints defender to try to push past and into the box.
84 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool are sweeping passes around. No disquiet as yet among the home fans at a team that seems to be standing off now, trying to limit the damage.
82 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Last substitutes incoming: Naby Keita replaces Firmino. Che Adams enters for the exiting Broja.
80 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool fans have gone back to the old classics after Allez, Allez, Allez and the Fields of Anfield Road. It's time for We Shall not be Moved.
78 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Curtis Jones slinks through two tackles in the centre of midfield, eluding Ward-Prowse and Romeu to tap it to Minamino who skitters into the box then rolls it down the outside to the overlapping Milner. The veteran berates himself for slicing the cross wildly first-time.
75 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Booking for Stephens for a trip on Origi. Firmino's shot is stopped by Lyanco, the ball breaks upfield and Konate fouls Broja to stop him bombing away.
73 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Tsimikas makes a vital clearance from a left-wing cross by Armstrong, hooking the ball behind precariously before Walker-Peters could steal in.
71 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
It is Matip's goal. He stooped to conquer.
69 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Klopp is raging when Broja is tackled by Milner and the centre-forward catches Milner on the ankle. It looked accidental. Tella was booked a few seconds earlier.
Double Saints substitution: Romeu and Stuart Armstrong come on for Diallo and Tella.
66 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Impossible to tell whether it was Walker-Peters or Matip with the final touch, whether Matip headed it on to Walker-Peters or vice versa before it looped into the net. Elyounoussi had flicked it on at the near post, never a good thing to do when defending a corner.
Southampton 1 Liverpool 2 (Matip???)
66 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool corner after Salisu is first to Milner's cross.
64 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool substitution: Origi comes on for Elliott. Liverpool switch to 4-2-4.
62 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Walker-Peters sends the ball up the right for Ward-Prowse to chase in behind, Henderson having wrongly sprung the offside trap when nowhere near level with his centre-backs. Alisson storms out to boot it upfield, though it almost hit Ward-Prowse.
60 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Jones exploits the space ahead of him from 22 yards out when e receives Firmino's round-the-corner pass. He advances a couple of yards, sets Stephens as the training ground dummy to bend the ball around but can't get it to creep back in and it keeps going ... out for a goalkick.
58 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Milner wins a corner by getting behind Redmond and Salisu. He takes it himself, cutting it back to Elliott lurking by the right angle of the box and he tries to thread a left-foot shot through a thicket of shins. No dice, though.
56 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Firmino strikes the outside of the right post after a wonderful pass from Eliott slid him in down the inside-right. Klopp is purring at the way Firmino is playing and Elliot's excellent reading of the game.
54 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Southampton break from the corner, the referee plays advantage after a foul by Konate just inside the Liverpool half because the ball ricochets to Ward-Prowse who is clear down the right but doesn't have the pace to sprint through to go one-on-one with Alisson. So he tries to chip him or pick out a back-post runner but floats it too close to the keeper.
52 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool corner after a good run from Firmino and a clever pass up to Jota whose right-foot shot from 15 yards, connecting with a ball that bounced too high to catch it sweetly, is blocked behind.
50 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Milner takes out Broja with a high kick and is rightly booked. The crowd want a harsher sanction. Can Ward-Prowse apply it from the 30-yard free-kick. No, for once, he scuds it into the wall.
48 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Flowing Liverpool move from right to left. Tsimikas is the recipient at the end of a nine-touch passing move starting with Milner. He drives in from the touchline to force a pass under Walker-Peters' lunge. Jota traps it with his right into the grass and it bounces up for a left-foot half-volley which he smears wide of the right post. Great skill.
46 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool owe the alert Konate after Milner loses the ball high up the right, not helped by matip's poor positioning when Milner was looking to offload. Redmond knocks it long for Tella to chase but Konate motored over elegantly to sweep up before Tella could get going.
Joe Gomez is coming off
Jordan Henderson is replacing him. Milner retreats to right-back.
Looking at the replay of the 'foul' on Jota
That led to Southampton's goal. Klopp had good reason to be exasperated. It was a foul 'all day long', 'in any language', says Jamie Redknapp. Strange that VAR did not flag it, though it did happen 15 seconds before the goal. Is that too long and too far territorially from the Liverpool nets to overturn it? If that was the judgment, it makes little sense. No foul = no goal.
Half-time Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Two wonderful goals. Southampton are set up in their usual smash and grab mode with two compact lines of five and four now, Liverpool, sometimes struggling to find space, seldom struggling for inspiration, probing patiently with changes of tempo and positional rotation up front. Saints look dangerous on the break. Liverpool look dangerous whenever they work the ball out wide quickly.
45+3 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
The game restarts with stoppage time added to stoppage time as Liverpool play for the whistle which comes 30 seconds after Gomez left the field.
45+1 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Gomez is hurt when he telescopes a out a leg to prod the ball away from Tella who then falls over the hurdle of his right leg and lands on him. After treatment it doesn't look too serious. He limps off for further assessment.
45 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Alisson races out of his goal to thwart Broja's attempt to run on to a through ball, humping it clear. Then Stephens makes a gift of the ball to Elliott but his team-mates bailed him out.
43 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Gomez crosses from the right, gets his angles wrong but that's no bad thing as the ball flirts tantalisingly with becoming a shot as it drifts towards and inches over the far post.
41 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Misunderstanding between Tsimikas and Jota down the inside left. The left-back thought Jota was going to make a run beyond Lyanco but he held the line.
39 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Cute cross from Gomez, bending it at knee height towards the near post, trying to pick out Firmino's run. But it just evaded him.
36 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Diallo turns blind and is mugged by Milner who shifts the ball up to Firmino, 10 yards ahead and the Liverpool No9 bends a right-foot shot over from 22 yards.
34 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Excellent from Elliott who is a tremendous talent. He takes the ball down the right, scampers past Redmond and chips a dinky pass to Firmino at the front of the six-yard box. He hooks it on, only inches from Jota. Southampton scramble it away.
32 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
A couple of Liverpool corners, the first begetting the second, which Liverpool take short and then float a cross down McCarthy's throat.
30 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Milner thumps a right-foot shot from 20 yards that bounces awkwardly in front of McCarthy and, I think, also hits the post. Fine work by Elliott and especially Firmino to set it up. A minute later Jones swivelled in the box to lose Lyanco but dragged his right foot shot wide from the left of the penalty spot.
28 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 1
Great control by Jota to stun a pass hammered by Gomez to the right of the D. His second touch rolled it into the stride of Minamino's angled run and he took two perfectly deft touches and spanked a right-foot riser high into the net inside the near (right) post.
The only galling thing is that Minamino refused to celebrate against the club who loaned him last year. How can that be right? Unless he wants to go back, I suppose.
Southampton 1 Liverpool 1 (Minamino)
23 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Liverpool are suffering from a lack of width so far, says our colleague Jamie Carragher. Minamino and Gomez try to address down the right but go infield too quickly and although Elliott eventually fires over a cross, Southampton clear it and break upfield down the left.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 17, 2022
21 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Gomez throws himself to the floor when coming into the box from the right under Salisu's challenge. They brushed legs but not enough for Gomez to plant his chest into the turf.
19 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Firmino steers in a header from a free-kick that came from the corner but was half a yard offside when he started his far-post dart.
18 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Intricate triangular passing move down the inside right between Minamino, Firmino and Jota almost put Jota in to the right of the penalty spot. Lyanco read it fluently though, raced across and turned it behind for a corner.
17 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Klopp remains vexed about the decision not to penalise Lyanco. There was contact with Jota before he got the ball but Jamie Carragher thinks it was OK.
15 min Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Klopp is furious. He is adamant that Lyanco, who started the move did so illegally by kicking Jota to win the ball before sweeping a pass out to the left. Redmond did brilliantly thereon, though, haring up the touchline, before cutting in and bending a right-foot shot, Thierry Henry style, into the top right. A little nick off Milner may have taken it beyond Alisson's reach.
Southampton 1 Liverpool 0 (Redmond)
12 min Southampton 0 Liverpool 0
Walker-Peters is played in behind the Liverpool line by another ball over the top but Konate makes a better fist of chasing him down and he runs out of space.
10 min Southampton 0 Liverpool 0
Good break from Broja down the inside-right as Liverpool play their high line. He drives between Tsimikas and Konate. Tella peels off to give him a passing option in the middle and Broja accelerates down the outside of Konate to reach the byline. His pull-back is diverted away from danger by Alisson's right boot at full stretch.
8 min Southampton 0 Liverpool 0
Konate is winded after a heavy fall after going up for a header from the corner, and being banged in the face by Salisu's arm.
6 min Southampton 0 Liverpool 0
Southampton throw-in just inside the Liverpool half, on the left. Stephens chips a long diagonal but Tsimikas intercepts and plays it to Elliott whose cute pass starts an attack down the right. Milner's shot strikes Stephens' biceps. Liverpool want a penalty but have to settle for a corner.
4 min Southampton 0 Liverpool 0
Southampton are retreating into a 4-5-1 when Liverpool have the ball. Broja attempting to press the centre-backs and squeezing the space through the middle. Liverpool keep probing, hogging possession, but kept at arm's length. Lurch's arm's length.
2 min Southampton 0 Liverpool 0
Milner is tripped on the right, takes the free-kick quickly, switching it to the left. Tsimikas fires over a deep cross that McCarthy skips out to catch.
1 min Southampton 0 Liverpool 0
After the players take a knee, Southampton kick off, attacking from right to left. They cannot hang on to the ball and Matip puts his foot on it then sends an attack up the right.
Out come the teams
Southampton in red and white stripes, black shorts and white socks; Liverpool are wearing the primrose with red trim of 1978-79.
It's absolutely siling it down at St Mary's
I had different things to consider. We need 100 per cent desire, fresh legs, ready for a proper fight.
I had to see who could go after the 120 minutes again, physically and mentally. it's been a very intense season for the boys.
After the Chelsea celebration, I did the line-up and I feel very positive about it. We have a team who will give absolutely everything to beat Southampton.
I really love the line-up. Do they have rhythm. Probably not but they can get that by winning challenges, winning challenges in the right areas and that's what I expect.
Your teams in black and white
Southampton McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Stephens, Lyanco, Salisu; Diallo, Tella, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Elyounoussi, Tella, Broja.
Substitutes Caballero Romeu, Long, Adam Armstrong, Adams, Stuart Armstrong, Djenepo, Bednarek, Valery.
Liverpool Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Konate, Tsimikas; Jones, Milner, Elliott; Minamino, Firmino, Jota.
Substitutes Kelleher, Thiago, Keita, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaz, Robertson, Origi, Williams.
Referee Martin Atkinson (Leeds)
Forster, Perraud, Bednarek and both Armstrongs are out. In come McCarthy, Lyanco, Stephens, Tella and Elyounoussi.
Correction below - it's nine changes for Liverpool
Out go Alexander-Arnold for Gomez, Van Dijk for Matip, Robertson for Wembley hero Tsimikas, the midfield trio Keita, Henderson and Thiago for Milner, Jones and Elliott and Diaz, Mane and Salah for Minamino, Firmino and Jota.
Fraser Forster is out for Southampton among five changes
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) May 17, 2022
Nine changes for Liverpool
And welcome to coverage of tonight's match between Southampton, Liverpool's favourite recruiting ground, and the League and FA Cup-winners who are four points behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and have two games to play, tonight's and against Wolves at Anfield on Sunday, to the reigning champions' one. Lose here and City will win their fourth Premier League title in five years and sixth in the past decade. A victory or a draw for Jurgen Klopp's Red Men, who lost on their last visit to St Mary's in January 2021 by virtue of Danny Ings' second-minute goal, keeps the race alive until Sunday and force City, in the words of Kevin Keegan, "to get something" against Aston Villa, Steven Gerrard, Gary McAllister, Philippe Coutinho and Ings.
Southampton, who have won one, drawn two and lost seven of their last 10 games, have finally exploded the notion that their manager, Ralph Hasenhuttl, is fireproof. He rode out the 9-0s, for which he faced relatively mild criticism compared with some of his peers for not quite so severe shellackings, but dissent at last erupted towards the end of their grisly 3-0 defeat at Brentford 10 days ago when away fans united with a few home wags to bellow out 'Sacked in the morning'. There has been so much rotation, particularly in the forward positions, that the travelling Saints' damning 'You don't know what you're doing' was entirely understandable if not justified.
Hasenhuttl has only Tino Livramento unavailable and should recall Oriol Romeu and Che Adams after the chastening Brentford trip. Fabinho is out for Liverpool until the Champions League Final, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah will not be risked until Sunday, if even then, and Klopp is sure to rest key players, hinting at up to seven changes, including both full-backs, Jordan Henderson, Thiago and at least two of the three forward positions. Join us at 6.45pm for the team news.