It has been a bitter end to the season for Liverpool FC, with Mohammad Salah taking to social media this week to express the disappointment of missing out on Champions League football for next campaign.
A dire season for Southampton is finally coming to an end, as they close the chapter of eleven consecutive years in the Premier League. With too many chops and changes of managers along the way, the board has a lot of work to do for next season’s campaign in the hope of promotion.
SOU: McCarthy, Bree, Bednarek, Lyanco, Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Walcott, Alcaraz, Elyounoussi, Sulemana
LIV: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Fabinho, Jones, Salah, Firmino, Jota
More embarrassment commenced for Southampton’s season as they gifted Jota a goal within ten minutes. The defence tried to play the ball out from their backline, though unforgivably Bednarek didn’t look over his shoulder when passing – gifting Jota the ball and an empty net to smash in.
Firmino was next to get on the scoresheet, with his feint sending the defence tumbling to the floor like bowling pins and he fizzled the ball through the legs of McCarthy. As they trailed by two goals within fourteen minutes, it seemed as if the Saints had been on the receiving end of a knockout blow.
Southampton weren’t going to give up though, as they hit back only moments later through their one bright spark of the season – James Ward-Prowse. Trent Alexander-Arnold didn’t stick with his man and was punished as the Saints midfielder slotted home into the bottom corner.
Trent wrapped his foot on a delicious cross for Fabinho but the header across missed the goal – and Salah – for what would’ve been a tap in. A couple of deflected efforts from Jota and Jones followed, with both going just went wide as Liverpool knocked on the door for more.
Yet again, against the run of play the Saints scored after Firmino lost the ball carelessly on the halfway line. Walcott punished the mistake by finding an acute pass through the heart of the Liverpool defence for Sulemana, who did his job and finished with ease. Miraculously, the Saints were level!
Bree was next to line up an effort, hammering it towards the Liverpool goal – but the flame wasn’t to be lit for what surely would be up there as one of the quickest comebacks in Premier League history.
Sulemana took the ball on from a clearance inside Southampton’s own half just a mere two minutes into the second period. The striker drifted through the middle of the park, evading tackles along the way before firing home to bag his second goal of the day and send the Saints ahead.
Armstrong was introduced onto the pitch in the 63rd minute, and no more than a minute had passed when a mistake from Henderson saw the ball played straight to the substitute – who ran through and struck a shot across the body of the ‘keeper to notch Southampton’s fourth goal of the day.
Liverpool had to do something special to spare themselves the blushes – and that’s exactly what they did. Sublime one-touch football over the top and across goal ended with Cody Gakpo finding an opening to slot home Liverpool’s third of the afternoon with 72 minutes played.
Need to catch a breather? Me too. Less than a minute after Gakpo’s strike, Jota found himself in a one-v-one situation with the ‘keeper, blasting into the roof of the net to level the game at 4-4.
This renewed spark gave Liverpool confidence, and Elliot attempted to bend one into the corner but he didn’t quite get the dip on the ball it required. With time running out, a clearance found Henderson and the midfielder attempted to pull off the spectacular – but McCarthy was able to get down and make the save.
Kelleher had to keep sharp to deny one last Southampton chance after a period of Liverpool dominance, which would be the final action of the game. The match epitomised Liverpool’s season – which has had flashes of excellent football, yet Jurgen Klopp’s side have lacked the consistency to stay switched on defensively.