They call Ralph Hasenhuttl the ‘Klopp of the alps’ and on Monday night he showed why as Southampton pressed Liverpool and snagged all three points courtesy of a first minute goal from a former Liverpool striker, Danny Ings. Southampton are up to sixth with 29 points and Liverpool could lose their place at the top of the table next Tuesday when Manchester United travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley in their game in hand.
A Liverpool blip that was their last two draws now becomes a crisis with just one goal scored in their last three matches against West Brom, Newcastle United, and now Southampton.
Southampton were the fastest out of the blocks as Jurgen Klopp rejigged his side and played his captain, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as his central defenders whilst deploying the returning Thiago Alcantara and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. A needless foul on Stuart Armstrong by Thiago led to Ings getting his chance. Though Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold had a chance to clear but he mistimed his jump.
Despite Liverpool having 67 per cent of ball possession, the Reds had only one shot on target to show. The second half saw Liverpool up the tempo and for the first 15 minutes of the second stanza, Southampton were under the cush but both Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens put their bodies on the line to protect Fraser Forster, who made his first appearance of the season.
On 84 minutes, substitute Yan Valery almost scored a second for Southampton when he nutmegged Alisson, who had raced 30 yards off his goal line to clear. But though the ball was goal bound, it did not have enough power to go in.
Klopp threw on Xherdan Shaqiri for Oxlade-Chamberlain and withdrew Alexander-Arnold for James Milner as the defending champions surged forward for the equaliser. With three minutes left on the clock, Roberto Firmino lost his touch in the box and the ball was easily gathered by Forster.
Liverpool’s last chance fell to Sadio Mane in the second minute of added time but the Senegalese headed over. Mane showed his frustration because he had been well marshalled by Kyle Walker-Peters. At the end Hasenhuttl fell on his knees with tears streaming down his face. He had achieved the almost impossible. The Klopp of the Alps had defeated Jurgen Klopp.
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