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Southampton V Liverpool The Verdict
Monday, 4th Jan 2021 23:00

At the end of the game Ralph Hasenhuttl sunk to his knees overcome with emotion, a little under two hours earlier there was barely a Saints supporter predicting a victory after they saw the line up of Southampton boys against the Liverpool men, but a victory it was.

When the team line up was announced an hour before the game, Saints related social media lit up with fans claiming that with so many players out there would only be one result, even when Danny Ings finished off another James Ward Prowse freekick set piece with a deft nonchalant chip of the keeper, there were few who believed that we could hold out another 88 minutes, Ralph Hasenhuttl himself admitted that he didn't believe we could win until the 92nd minute, but win we did.

It was always going to be hard, we were missing 5 players who might well have started the game and that is a big total for a squad of our size, we just about managed to put out an experienced side, but on the bench Shane Long found himself sat alongside players almost young enough to be his children.

But everyone on the pitch played their part, from Fraser Forster in goal who although protected well by his defence, did what he had to do when he had to do it.

In front of him he had a back four who battled well, at times they were stretched but they never gave up and if they made an error they chased back and made sure that we didn't pay the price for it.

In the midfield James Ward Prowse led by example and alongside him Ibrahima Diallo was a pocket dynamo, fitting in with the passing style well and winning the ball and moving it on, Ralph has a real dilemma as he now has three class central midfielders.

Moussa Djenepo was a threat out wide and when he pulled what looked like his hamstring he left the field in tears, such was his frustration in having to go off when he was playing so well.

But the change didn't affect the side, on came Nathan Tella who was pushed up front and almost scored himself, he never stopped running.

In the second half it was one way traffic for a while and the worry was that we might run out of steam and not have enough class on the bench to replace those who needed a rest.

But Dan N'Lundulu came on in the 77th minute for Danny Ings and then Yann Valery to replace Walcott and they put in a shift, indeed Valery almost put the game to bed after beating the onrushing Alisson, but his shot lacked pace and was cleared before it reached the line.

The end was nervy, Liverpool threw everything at us, but we held firm, truth was that for all their possession, the visitors couldn't muster a decent effort on target and that was due to solid defending.

At the end of the game Ralph Hasenhuttl fell to his knees in tears, overcome by the emotion and it was a sight that Saints fans warmed to, here is a man who has bought into the club with his heart and soul, this is more than a game for him and we are more than a club.

Next to him was the man that he is often compared to, in Germany they called him Klopp Of The Alps, but in tonight he was the master tactician not Jurgen Klopp, with a injury ravaged team to work with it was his team that battled for every ball and his team whose one moment of genius won the match, on this night Klopp has to take second stage and can now be referred to as the Hassenhuttl of Bootle in Liverpool.

When we started 2020, we were still unsure whether the season would be a good one or would see us relegated, a year later and we are only 4 points off the top spot, Ralph said this was a night he started to believe and for many Saints fans it is the same, there is still some work to do, but we are getting stronger and better.

In many ways this resembled a performance back in the summer against Manchester City, we were not given much of a hope in that one but we battled through and won, we should not get carried away just yet, but this is a team that can compete.

The pride is now back in Southampton Football club, it is time to stop whinging that the club has no ambition and wants to sell players, it has a plan, it has a strategy and Ralph Hasenhuttl has given us not only hope but pride.

Let's look to the future now and not drag up the past !

We are 6th in the League we are 4 points off the top, this is a team that can make us proud !

Photo: Action Images

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ElijahK added 23:09 - Jan 4
What a feast result that was!!! I mean not only did it show us SOOO MUCH! But it also taught so many others! I mean the fact that with loads of injuries and having to bring on only youth players as subs, along with the fact that one came on like 30 minutes in just shows how great this season truly is! I mean the fact that Ralph was on his knees crying at the end just shows of how much he cares about the results and how he’s just as enthusiastic about the sport and team as we are which is just great and something I LOVE seeing! I mean this result not only ends lots of our bad streaks and continues our good ones (like clean sheets and home form) but it shows to us that we can beat anyone and certainly can challenge for Europe seeing that we’re 6th and only 4 points off of top!

Of course though the best part about it is probably the fact that we can now shut up all those sad ass glory hunter Liverpool fans we all know and get stick off, and teach them a lesson! Especially seeing that they only got 1 shot on target throughout the whole game!!! 🤣🤣🤣

theralpholution added 23:13 - Jan 4
Showed two facets of Saints game. Confident free passing football in the first half and the ability to dig in and defend in the second. Fantastic performances all round but again because he never gets a positive mention on this site, I'll mention Stephens for his leadership at the back and yet another clean sheet. Diallo and KWP also outstanding. The youth on the bench is an indicator of even better times ahead. Well done Ralph for the amount you invest in our team which obviously came pouring out at the end.

ElijahK added 23:14 - Jan 4
I mean also well played to Diallo as he was decent, Forster was ok but seeing that he had only 1 shot on target to face its not too much to look upon. But in the end some great tactics off of Ralph along with everyone performing at their best including Ings getting back to his game with that WONDER STRIKE! (certainly WAAAAAY better than son’s stupid overrated goal!

Saintsforeverj added 23:29 - Jan 4
Totally agree Nick. This is a great verdict. This is indeed pride and all Saints fans are proud. There is nothing at all to be negative about. We have a wonderful manager, a competitive team and great spirit. And a word for the young players who came on - Tella, Ndulunu, Valery - they did themselves proud. They are the future. Amazing night for the Saints.

davidargyll added 23:36 - Jan 4
Last match we played the midfield was controlled by the Hammers, but this week it was controlled by the Saints. And blimey what a difference that made, even if the Scousers had so more more possession in H2. I did find it extraordinary though that Klopp kept Henderson as a back and didn’t bring on one of the subs so he could move him up into midfield. And yet, maybe that is telling you something about what the Liverpool manager thinks about our capabilities, ie if he had moved him we would have cut their back lines to shreds! Well who am I to disagree?!
What I was particularly pleased about though was the performances by our kids, Tella and Valery in particular, the latter of which was completely unrecognisable from when he last played. But they all contributed, indeed the whole team put their lives on the line and My God we did a job on them, didn’t we? I think the really pissed-off look on the face of Jordan Henderson when he was interviewed after the game spoke volumes ...
And whilst I thought everyone looked knackered last week, again it was totally the opposite tonight, they all seemed to have got a new lease of life; it was so so impressive, especially in the last ten minutes or so when we started to stroke the ball around as if the cat had got the cream.
Ok so we were on Cloud 9 ... now we’re on Cloud 6... so all together now: “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...”

DellBoyWally added 00:18 - Jan 5
Stephens was immense. There, I've said it!! Not taking back any of my past criticisms but credit where it's due. He's such an improved player; how does Ralph do it? First Jannick and now Jack.
A player who shone for me was Ibrahima Diallo. Put in some great tackles; not as spectacular as O Romeo! but very effective. His attacking play promises a player for future drooling.
The youngsters were great, didn't look out of place and two of them, Tella and Vallery, could have made my evening slightly less traumatic!!
Oh yeah, Burnley chairman please note, we had, apparently, (not checked) 11 Academy players in the starting 20. So not destroyed as some outside the game would try and have you believe. Maybe sour grapes at having to buy Burnley and not getting us??!!

DellBoyWally added 00:30 - Jan 5
Oh, a word on FF. Hairy for a while, obviously nervous, shouldn't try and be a ball player!! His decisions to punch proved effective but still cringeworthy! Needs a few minutes under his gloves to get into the swing and should be more settled Saturday.
And on Twitter it appears we were lucky not to concede at least 7 penalties according to Liverpool supporters. Mane wasn't touched by KWP, fell over Kyles standing leg. NO PENALTY. Jack a superb block, the ball hit his arm which was at his side, a totally natural position; not, as the Scousers would have one believe, 1) a long way from his body; 2) over his head 3) punching the ball away; 4) 10 yards from the kicker!
You got beat, live with it!

JimmyMeliaPhD added 00:32 - Jan 5
I'm hoping to post a bit more this year....Anyway, when I saw Klopp's teamsheet I did think Saints would win. In fact I texted to an old friend who's on Liverpool training staff: <<Given Klopp's disrespectful team selection, I bet Southampton score at least one go from a corner or set piece. Other abetting propositions… One, Thiago gets booked if not sent off. Two if shaqiri comes on the field Southampton will win, but if Origi
comes on win.>> Klopp played right into my hands!

JimmyMeliaPhD added 00:35 - Jan 5
Apart from that, I thought Diallo showed real class, Forster and Djenepo not so much. The victory is great of course, but we really do have a very thin squad!

AmericanSaint added 02:30 - Jan 5
Well well well, Santa finally delivered us that Christmas present. Great team effort all around and want to point out Diallo as he was superb. He fought for every ball, made some sublime passes and ran his socks off. He was my MOTM. I feel for Djenepo as he was having a good game an playing both ways decently. I liked RH substitutions as well. I have said in the past that I think Valery can actually play right midfield and RH putting him there was a good move. Well that is the way to start the new year and now we just need to keep pressing up the table. We have a difficult string of games coming but all are winnable based on this performance, we just have to stick to the plan. COYR.

VancouverSaint added 04:23 - Jan 5
I was very nervous before this game. We were without Adams, Vesty, McCarthy, Romeu and Redmond. How could we win against the might of Liverpool? The magical goal within 2 minutes was incredible. The mighty Reds were caught by surprise. It was a pure strikers goal. Ings instinctively knew where the goal was. Because of that goal, the belief was stamped into the side. The first half was fairly comfortable. The ‘Pool were playing catch up, not their comfort zone. We knew that they would come out in the second half like a Banshee. They did but it was always blunted by our back 4. Stephens and Bednarak were huge. The whole 10 out field players were in tune together. I thought Diallo had a huge game, he seemed very calm and in control. Armstrong was great at taking the ball forward from midfield. But the biggest part of the game was the youngsters. Tella, Valery, N’Lundulu were so good in the last15 minutes. Tella needs an extra shout...he looks like a great future asset.I got to admit that the least 30 minutes were nervous, but the more it went on the idea of a win was a possibility. Mane was their only threat but was basically snuffed out by Walker-Peters. A win for the ages.The biggest part of the game was Ralph’s breakdown of joy at the end. I have never seen, in 60+ years of following the Saints, ever seen that emotion from our gaffer. Please God, keep the vultures away from our team. Long may they build on this triumph!

erick added 05:20 - Jan 5
A mention for berty too he played his part. We have shrewbury next, I bet the youngsters would like to show their capabilities while giving the team the much needed time to rest. Good to see chauke in the team sheet.

Peterx added 07:05 - Jan 5
Totally drained after that one.

Telling that RH played our kids, but Klopp didn't trust his kids at the back and played Henderson out of position.

Henderson ultimately played Ings onside for our goal which cost them the game.

Love it.

AirFlorida added 08:28 - Jan 5
I was NOT expecting that! A team believing in their manager's tactics and a manager believing in his players to deliver them! Much maligned I know but I want to say well done FF too. What a game to be thrown in to without playing a top flight game for us for so long. He was obviously nervy at first with the ball at his feet (slow, very slow, rusty) but we got through that. He made a couple of good punches and saves and his defence protected him brilliantly (you could almost read their minds, better not pass back to FF) but his presence in goal makes that goal look a lot smaller for the oppo! A really difficult game for him after being shipped out on loan a couple of times and made aware that he wasn't really wanted. Yes he's on a nice big contract and should be prepared for games like this but he choose to stay (for whatever reason) and fight for a place here rather than return on loan. I'm one of the few routing for him. He's a great keeper when he's playing with confidence, a different style to McCarthy for sure (cue sarky comments!) but if we can get his confidence back up we'll have two good keepers, Alex knowing he has competition. Oh, his kicking improved once he ditched the gum - one for your note book Ralph.

underweststand added 09:04 - Jan 5
How can you have 6 M.o.M candidates ? - EASY ....just watch the Liverpool game again.
Outstanding effort from everyone, superb finish from Danny Ings and resolute defending all round. Those who claim Liverpool had injury problems should take a look at what was finally left on our bench - 6 Academy lads - with less than a dozen games between them.

Nowadays, every manager who loses looks to VAR decisions as an excuse but Klopp had a forward line with 3 of the best strikers in the Prem. who had 17 fruitless shots - and they still lost. A penalty shouldn't have been necessary to beat us with that squad Jörgen.
Ralph's reaction to the final result expresses his dedication to the team and his task.

Saints' 33 % possession doesn't mean that we were outclassed, we showed the class by our overall game performance and the manner in which we "shut out " the Champions.
One of the most satisfying results I have enjoyed in a very long time.

ssxsaint added 09:23 - Jan 5
Is Salish injured? He wasn’t on the bench.

stmichael added 09:40 - Jan 5
Good verdict. I would add that 2 nil nil draws and a narrow 1-0 defeat to one of the top 3 teams in Europe is NOT a crisis. We have been a top 6 side for a year now and if we keep the manager and players there is NO reason this will not continue. We will have spells when we are not at our best as all teams do but this is a proven team now and it will continue. Why wouldnt it?

Boris1977 added 09:51 - Jan 5
This is what supporting Saints is about. Very proud again. Please keep this lot together for a few years at least. COYRs

halftimeorange added 10:06 - Jan 5
Dear Mr Klopp, I thought you were somewhat churlish in your post-match interview. You suggested that Mane didn't dive when tumbling to the ground whilst losing his battle against Walker Peters. You suggested that Jack Stephens handled the ball so your team should have had a second penalty. I would submit that Mane should have received a red card when he petulantly threw his arm at Walker-Peters having lost the ball to him yet again. Furthermore, Thiago Alcantara was fortunate on several occasions not to receive a second yellow, continually fouling Southampton players. The fact is, however, that your opinion doesn't count any more than mine so we'll both have to settle for the Southampton team wanting to play for their manager than the Liverpool team did for theirs. Yours truly.

SaintPaulVW added 10:40 - Jan 5
Agree with virtually all the above.

Diallo looks awesome. Just needs to adapt to the speed of the PL and stop getting bumped of the ball occasionally. However his possession and final balls are excellent. Will give us a real plan B with OR and JWP to start games tight or game manage in the later stages.

Great to see JS and FF return and show their true quality. Great performances from both of them.

Finally after the release of emotions on the sideline, could you love Ralph any more?. I hope he is given full backing and stays with us for many years. I am certain that he can get the success that he has earned with this team if he is given time.

Great day to be a Saints fan


SanMarco added 12:11 - Jan 5
HAPPY new year everyone!!!

A monumental performance - that Klown is whining about penalties shows that we stopped them from creating chances. Sometimes in a game like that you look at it and say we won because they missed loads of chances - that didn't happen last night.

The 'teamsheet gloom' we all felt at 7pm proved unnecessary because Diallo came of age with a superb performance and Jack Stephens had his best game for the club. The youngsters brought on did very well (Ralph may have been wrong againt Man City because we were chasing an equaliser - here, with a lead to hold their energy was brilliant.) and Ings did what he is rather good at!!

Excellent all round - I wish Klown had've had a few ex-Saints to bring on right at the end!!!! Of course it is just one win but a hugely symbolic one. Well done everyone.

I am asking the same question as ssxsaint re Salisu. Not even a sub?? What's going on? I know we will have to play some youngsters on Saturday but we have to win it as the cup is a great chance for us and surely Salisu is just the player who should start??


saintmark1976 added 12:13 - Jan 5
Still want Ralf to look for an experienced centre half Nick? Hmm.

davepid added 13:21 - Jan 5
Great performance all round last night. Good to see so many Academy players on the bench. But will that mean they will go on to establish themselves in a Saints starting X1? History is against them doing so. A year ago we got excited about Vokins and Smallbone in the FA cup against Huddersfield . They are still around but only as subs if at all. And theee years ago against Liverpool it looked like Sims had finally arrived with that wonder pass for Longs decisive goal ; but now he languishes at Donny Rovers. Let’s hope Ralph and the Club crack the huge gap facing Tella and N’Lundulu between one or two good performances and securing a regular starting position. And if he does it might not be too late to save them as well as Obafemin and Valery going the same way as so many one match Academy wonders sadly have.

GeordieSaint added 13:25 - Jan 5
The lads played like lions. Awesome. Great to see so many young lads knocking on the door too and the manager? Wow. Magical times for the Saints.

1962saint added 14:57 - Jan 5
I, like other posters, noticed the failure in sighting the ‘lesser spotted’ Salisu even on the bench. If he doesn’t play against Shrewsbury the fans deserve an honest update on the situation. However Stephens and Bednerak were superb all night. Given that Liverpool don’t have a big man up front they were a better option than Vestergard had he been fit. Was Salah there? I hardly remember seeing him.

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