What can be considered a second-strength starting XI for Liverpool, managed to get the job done with a 2-1 win over Southampton despite many nervy moments before the final whistle at St. Mary’s.
After Liverpool endured 120 minutes of football in the FA Cup, Jurgen Klopp was forced to make nine changes to his starting 11. Adding even more misery to his team selection, he had to think about his lineup without Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, and Fabinho available for selection.
Far from the usual convincing Reds performance but three points were collected and pressure applied to Manchester City nonetheless. Goals by Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip cancelled out a Nathan Redmond special that was also seen as “controversial” by the Reds boss and some pundits.
A full squad effort by Liverpool keeps the quadruple alive
Yes, late scares had the hearts sitting in the throat of many Liverpool fans because there was no Mane, Fabinho, VVD, Salah, or Trent Alexander-Arnold on the pitch or the bench. However, Klopp’s men have proved his faith in them will be repaid in full and using his full squad will accomplish the same results when needed.
Minamino, the man who scored the equaliser, hasn’t started since his FA Cup start in the fifth round against Norwich City back in March; before that it was in 2020 in their 7-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Harvey Elliott hasn’t seen a starting spot in the league run since his horrific Leeds United incident at the start of the season back in August. Curtis Jones also enjoying only his second PL start in as many months. Roberto Firmino, only just came back from injury, but a win was delivered.
The last kick of the game in the FA Cup was by a substitution brought on through an injury of another. Kostas Tsimikas came on for Andrew Robertson and won Liverpool the old English cup with his penalty; he had ice pumping through his veins and was calm when called upon.
The full effort of Klopp’s squad has kept the quadruple hopes alive this late on in the season while entertaining their fans and neutrals with attractive football or ugly wins.
Up next: A meeting at Anfield with Wolverhampton Wanderers while Manchester City welcomes Aston Villa on Sunday on the final day of Premier League action. They will be hoping Steven Gerrard has a say in the title race and write his name in the history books with this never-quitting Liverpool team.
Then it’s the final hurdle, the Spanish hurdle in the shape of Real Madrid. That is what’s happening on the 28th of May, just under a week from Matchday 38 of the Premier League in Saint-Denis, France.
The downside of Liverpool’s victory: Joe Gomez’s injury
Just before the halftime whistle was blown by the ref, a collision between Gomez and Nathan Tella saw the Englishman leave the field early and be replaced by Jordan Henderson. He moved to the midfield in James Milner’s spot, with Milner slotting in at right back where Joe was operating.
Hopefully, it is nothing serious and he is available for selection as they embark on their final stretch of this long journey. He could also be enjoying his last days at the Anfield club since falling behind Ibrahima Konate in the pecking order.
Aston Villa along with West Ham and other clubs have been linked with a move for the defender. If he is injured, it has come at the worst time possible for him, a player plagued with a bad injury history.