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Southampton v Liverpool The Verdict
Wednesday, 18th May 2022 07:51

Saints rounded off their home season in the Premier League with a battling performance, but ultimately a narrow defeat as Liverpool kept their hopes of winning the title alive, now we can move forward.

The changes were rung by both sides for this contest with Ralph Hasenhuttl making some enforced switches due to injury including the return of Alex McCarthy in goal.

From the start it was obviously going to be a tough night as Liverpool knew they had to go for it, but it was Saints who struck first blood with a superb effort from Nathan Redmond, however the lead lasted just 14 minutes and The visitors were level before the half hour mark.

This was a case of deja vu, we battled hard but at certain times failed to do the basics and ultimately this is what cost us the game.

Ex Saints loanee Minamino was allowed too much space and he fired in a decent shot but truthfully McCarthy should have saved it, letting in yet another goal at his near post.

You couldn’t see much for Saints now, Liverpool swarmed forward and we had to dig in and work hard.

This we did but you sensed it was only a matter of time and the winner came in the 67 th minute, again it was a failure to do the basics, From a Liverpool corner Elyounoussi seemed to have a simple header out and into touch, instead he dried to swivel and just directed it into the centre of goal where Matip was credited with a header into the net although it looked like the last touch was Walker Peters who could do little else.

Saints did have a little flourish late on as Liverpool nerves jangled, but we never deserved much more than a narrow defeat.

The problem was the same as all of this season, a lot of hard work was done, we restricted Liverpool to just 5 on target out of 24 attempts, but stupid mistakes cost us the game.

In truth most Saints fans walked out of the ground relived that it was just a 2-1 defeat.

Now there is just one more game to go and we need to get that out of the way and then start rebuilding for the future, some out there showed that they are part of that future, but equally others showed that they are not.

I.m not going to mention names, we all saw who did their jobs and who did their jobs but got caught out far too often for comfort.

Now we need to put this season behind us, give the new owners a chance to show what they want to do with the club, if they feel that Ralph Hasenhuttl is their man then we need to give him the opportunity to show what he can do with the tough restrictions he has worked under now to a degree lifted.

The past is behind us now, there is no use moaning about it and the past includes this game, we now look just to the future.

Photo: Action Images

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Ron11 added 08:07 - May 18
The 'little flourish' happened when Hassenhutl brought on the players that should have been in the starting line up.

wessexman added 08:20 - May 18
I have wavered on Ralph for a while now but last night tipped me over the edge. I have no real alternative in mind. Last night was square pegs in round holes.....again. Last night's tactics were baffling.....again. Last night was gutless.....again. This was a Liverpool B side. Where was A Armstrong? Where was Che? Why didn't Romeu start? We simple did not compete. I think Klopp gambled and Ralph duly obliged.

ItchenNorth added 08:27 - May 18
We showed Liverpool far too much respect, given his was a second string side we were facing. The game plan was clearly to stay in the game as long as we could, but after the first half; we should have piled on the pressure. As it was, we only did this in the lady 5 minutes.

saintmark1976 added 08:58 - May 18
Yet again more unfathomable team selection, tactics and substitutions, this time against Liverpool reserves.

Nick, you say in reference to the new owners “ if they feel that Ralph Hasenhuttl is their man”.Let’s hope that the answer is “ No “, because on the basis of his frankly continually pathetic managerial performances, if the answer is “Yes” then the club will only be going in one direction and it’s sure as hell is not upwards.

Everything in life has a shelf life and for the good of the club, it’s supporters and the man himself it’s now time to end the cult of Saint Ralph.


LordDZLucan added 09:09 - May 18
There was nothing riding on this match for us so it was an opportunity, win or lose, to put on a display for the fans who have had to put up with some really dire performances over the last coupe of months. Instead we play as though we're in desperate need of a point and we try to defend for the whole 90 minutes. It was Liverpool's B side for f***'s sake. I've never felt quite so deflated at the end of a season since we came back up to the Premier League. I always stay for the lap of appreciation but not last night. Hassenhutl, 'In the name of God, go'.

A1079 added 09:27 - May 18
Apart from our wonderful goal our performance was pretty limp. I didn't particularly have an issue with the initial line up but Ralph did what he always does and waited until we went behind before making substitutions. It was clear to everyone that a change was needed at half time and certainly at the 50th minute stage when you could see a wave after wave of Liverpool attacks.

I didn't think our defensive line up was too bad but they had little protection or relief from our midfield and JWP had one of his most ineffective games.

McCarthy is awful - He is all over the place and so wasteful with his ball distribution - compare that to Allison at the other end whose every kick out went to a player in a yellow shirt - though we gave space to allow that to happen - no pressing whatsoever.

The club, the team need a monumental shake up and if Ralph does stay he needs a final warning - sort it out or go. He is reactive rather than pro-active, he is tactically inept. I wanted him to succeed and I like him in many ways but if he is not good enough then he is not good enough and he either needs a good right hand person beside him or we need a new manager. For me, he is well in his last chance saloon.

I am glad the season is over. It has a been a slow limp crawl to the finishing line. Contrary to the author we cannot forget how this season has ended or last season because the club need to learn from it and deal with it or we will face more of the same next season. Hopefully we have plans in place so they can sort it out early - but it is SFC and I have my doubts.

IanRC added 09:42 - May 18
Liverpool’s albeit much changed side were there for the taking after our goal but instead we sat back and let themselves work back their confidence to the extent that they were show boating in the second half. Their equaliser was a result of Jack Stephen’s snoozing instead of marking Minimao and another pathetic near post error by McCarthy, is he really our future goal keeper. Fair enough he made some good saves later but conceding in that manner was terminal. Very disappointing last home game.

SexyBeast added 09:45 - May 18
It was an embarrassing performance, RH clearly set up to avoid a hammering and was quite happy with a 2-1 defeat.

saint901 added 09:52 - May 18
I agree with some of the above.

Playing with a lone striker, at home, against a second string? No.

Playing Tella who cannot control the ball, do a defensive job, take players on? No.

Playing Redmond at left back, left mid and left striker? No.

Too much respect for a Liverpool team which was vulnerable on the flanks and not playing Che or SA from the start. No.

A flurry in the last 15 minutes when Liverpool had the game won and just managed the situation is not good enough.

I'm all for RH trying new things at the end of season which will see us stay in the PL, but again he left the subs way too late and the only player in our team who looked interested - KWP - was so often left with no support that it was embarrassing.

Particularly annoying was RH saying afterwards that we tried our maximum. No we didn't.

I'm a defender of RH in many ways (even if it's because we will not attract a better manager) but he tested me last night.

dirk_doone added 09:56 - May 18
"A battling performance" lol.

When we were losing in the 2nd half, there was no effort at all from our players to score a goal. They just seemed content to stay in their own half and keep the score down against Liverpool Reserves. And that is why the home fans walked out in disgust at the end rather than stay and applaud the team for their 'efforts" this season.

I also think Ralph, nice bloke that he is, who we all hoped would succeed, has finally turned nearly all of the fans against him with his weird team selection. Alex f----ing McCarthy FFS - If Forster was injured, Ceballo, any of our academy goalkeepers or even some random bloke from the crowd would have been better than McCarthy. McCarthy is a coward. He's not only afraid of physical contact with opposition players, he's even afraid of being hit by the ball, which is why he limbo dances to allow near post shots into his net, which any other goalkeeper, including Forster would stand up to and stop.

We also have the worst squad in the league for heading. None of them can head the ball either in defence or attack, which is why we concede more headed goals than any other team and score fewer. WE seem to specialize in recruiting players wwho are aerially challenged. Has Che Adams EVER scored a goal with his head in his entire career? To be a good header you need to be brave and our players don't seem to be. So, we loft high crosses and corners endlessly into the opposition penalty area for their players to head and start another attack against us, while ours just stand and watch.

How on earth did our manager, coaches and recruitment team miss the fact that they've assembled an entire squad who can't head the ball?

Bawdrip added 10:02 - May 18
Fought hard but completely toothless and inevitably lost to wave after wave of attacks. Bad team selection and tactics by Hassenhutal again. I missed the Arsenal match so that's six consecutive long trips to home matches and six consecutive defeats for me. A near complete rebuild needed yet again this summer. Just hope a new manager is part of it.

We were outclassed last night but Ward Prowse's performance and playing Diallo instead of Romeo (who I can only assume wasn't 100% fit) meant we were terrible in midfield and had no control there at all. Liverpool Reserves just had the freedom to build attack after attack.

Substitutes were 10 mins too late for me. We needed to be proactive not reactive.

A narrow defeat is OK but the manner of it was disappointing.

dirk_doone added 10:05 - May 18
I should add that I didn't mean to single out Che Adams for criticism. I could have picked any of our players. Has Diallo, for example, ever won the ball in the air? They are all as bad as each other at heading the ball and opposition managers all know it. They use our corners and high crosses to start their attacks.

Kenm added 10:09 - May 18
once again Saints go 1 up then CRASH ! done so many times this season and RH has NOT sorted it out, since he's been in charge we been battling against relegation ?, we need someone in charge who has more than a plan A every game ?, Saints passing was school boyish 4 or 5 passes then gave it away ?, the only time we managed to put a decent set of passes together was injury time, way to late by then !, Rumours are Newcastle may be getting rid of Eddie H ?, bring him to Saints he has more than 1 game plan and knows how to get players motivated !

highfield49 added 10:12 - May 18
Having had a bit of time to reflect on the mis-match I can only post that my reserves of optimism are very close to exhaustion. There were so many negatives and so few positives to take from the latest capitulation that surely must mean that the only way forward is to change the broken system with a new head coach and coaching staff. No matter how many players are transferred out and in using the same tactics, or lack of them, next season will not improve results.
Agreed that player errors, McCarthy making himself as small as possible at the near post and Elyounoussi providing an almost perfect flick on into the danger area, cost us two goals but it's the lack of structure to the defensive play and random, practically chaotic, attacking play that make the better players perform below their potential.
Sorry Ralph, if it was your first season in charge and you were learning from experience I'd be supportive, but to be floundering at this level after three years just isn't good enough. I have a feeling though, given what he has learnt but not acted on, he could still be a useful coach in Germany or elsewhere.

pwithers123 added 10:29 - May 18
Liverpool were again totally outstanding. It was a remarkable performance by the team. They were immense. Klopp has created an incredible squad ethic. Saints were given no space and no time. The Saints players played with high intensity and great skill - yet Liverpool kept closing them down. Saints managed to get an outstanding goal from Redmond ( I notice no one comments on that) - and Redmond was excellent throughout Liverpool played the same v Chelsea in the FA Cup final - even with different players - and Chelsea - even with their massive investment - had trouble coping. So Saints with minimal investment and many players without that depth of experience - were also struggling to live with Liverpool's intensity. Let's see how Real Madrid live with this. Bottom Line - Saints players were excellent and better than previously. Many Saints players were given the opportunity to play and gave it their best shot. Hassenhutl is an excellent manager playing against one of THE greatest Liverpool teams and one of their greatest Managers

Number_58 added 10:33 - May 18
The final result was a bit better than I was expecting but it was annoying we didn't give it more of a go in the last 20 minutes. It summed up Ralph's season really, unable or unwilling to change tactics and personell when it mattered. I like his passion for the club and he seems like a really decent guy, but three and a half years is a long time for a manager to be at a football club in the Premier League these days and sometimes it needs a complete change to reinvigourate the players and fans.

dellboysaint added 10:52 - May 18
Very deflated after last night. When I heard McCarthy was in goal I began my period of deflation. It seemed the team was happy to just not get a thrashing and for the manager and some of the players a 2-1 defeat was almost a good result. Fraser would have saved the first goal.

saint22 added 11:05 - May 18
SO much wrong with this piece and last night
also you are meant to LEARN from your past mistakes not forget about them and move on!!?
Right there is our clubs entire issue and that of the current manager I am afraid
Same mistakes over and over and never ever learning from them or ridding them from our game or his selections

SanMarco added 11:20 - May 18
Dirk - Che's winner at the Spuds was a header.

I saw no 'battling'. I did wonder if Ralph thought that Leeds had won on Sunday and therefore keeping the score down was important. The whole thing was thoroughly depressing. Elyounoussi's 'performance' summed it up. I didn't even realise he was playing until he set up the winner with a neat near-post flick. Several other players also proved they need to be moved on. The recall of 'Near Post' in goal was every bit as successful as most of us expected. Anyway, KWP excepted, you could run through most of the team with negative comments. Liverpool reserves were poor last night and they still beat us comfortably. It isn't good enough - if that is all we deserve then , well, how miserable...

As for the manager: Where are we going under him? Where is the progress? Why do we have these lengthy runs of abysmal form/results? Our slightly fluky win over Arsenal is all that, in the end, kept us from last-day trauma. Does Ralph has a plan? Has he players in mind to come in? Will he get them and then look as if he knows what he is doing. I don't like seeing managers sacked but can anyone honestly feel that 'yes' is a likely answer to any of those questions???

felly1 added 11:32 - May 18
I don't get how you could call that a narrow defeat?
Yes Redmond scored a cracking goal and after the stick in(including from me) he gets I was really pleased for him. The rest of the game (apart from the last 5 minutes) were awful. It was like watching a practise match between to sides that are leagues apart. Liverpool were in constant possession, I just gave up and endured reading the match day programme.
It's getting harder defending Ralph that's for sure.
I know our players compared to even Liverpool reserves are no match sadly but the failure to get at them and build attacks was frankly awful. One up front at home?
Usibg a pmyer that's not going to be here next season and is totally out of form?.. I dont get it to be honest.
If we had some other threats from wide areas or attacking midfielders I'd understand but we're absolutely hapless at this. Everything was just poor and its sooo depressing watching this hopeless team.
Nice to see Dave Merrington pitch side and for him to get the warm recognition he fully deserves. Now there's a guy with passion for this club.

JoeEgg added 12:08 - May 18
At long last the vast majority of posters are supporting my consistent view that Ralph is not up to the task. With new owners we need a new manager. I'm praying Forest stay in the Championship and then we have our chance to get hold of a guy that will sort out the mess that Ralph has left us.

vanmans added 13:17 - May 18
That has got to be Ralphs last game as head coach of Southampton FC.

saintpete01 added 17:16 - May 18
What total miss management
On and off the Feld
The last home game of the the campaign you play
Your absolute best Team you have season TICKETS to sale
The trouble is he hasn’t a scooby doo which Eleven that is
Ralph pack your bags

mattlegod added 17:31 - May 18
No wonder confidence is low, can you imagine the pre match tactical talk.. "right lads, Liverpool are far better than us so forget that attractive game we have played against some top sides this season because we are shit to be honest so forget that and let's defend for our lives. Let's face it we don't want another 9-0 pummeling done?".

Positive attitude starts from the top and it has been lacking for weeks now. Can't help thinking some of those who played last two games were put into the shop window as their real reason for playing...?!

Colburn added 22:25 - May 18
I watched a different game to Ralph and the person who has written this article. To be fair, Ralph only had 10 days to prepare for Liverpool reserves... It seems that he is in awe of Klopp just a little too much or has some strange obsession there and has managed to convince a large chunk of the saints fan base, along with his players and some in the media, that we are a poor relegation struggling team, squad and club and that he is doing an incredible job just keeping us in the league. So how does this correlate with his comment that we can do something special having achieved the results we did against City, Utd, Spurs this season..? You can't have it both ways... It feels like Ralph only cares about the results against the top 6 as if he is playing in his own fantasy champions league, talking about return matches with teams (when they might be 8 months apart). I'm not sure he has grasped English football in the last three years or so.
His team talk last night was made for him when the Liverpool line up was announced. After 20 mins, after we decided to cease with our half hearted attacking, I was envisaging how the likes of Brentford, Palace, Brighton, Villa would have taken the game to Liverpool with hunger, passion, spirit and a determination to stuff Liverpools carabao Cup qualifying squad. I am utterly and totally staggered by the level of fear Ralph transposed on to his players for a game which was our last one at home this season and with one win from the last 10 and a massively disillusioned fan base. The shackles were on our creative lads once again, some chained to the bench until the fat lady was clearing her throat. The result was a toothless, clueless performance nothing like what would have been served up by the aforementioned teams in the mid and lower echelons around us. This run of 11 games has somehow produced excuse after excuse and reasons why we can't do this and that. The good run against top teams proves that we have enough ability to take the game to other oppositions like Watford at home and we start with a lobe 20 year old striker and wonder why his form has dipped.. Ralph has slowly stifled and removed all the confidence and belief of our attackers and this has now spread to the rest of the team. They look lost and confused with no clear plan of how to attack teams or defend basic situations. The obsession of training ground tactics since February with predictable triangular passing has become dull to watch and a breeze for oppositions to exploit.
For me Ralph is a lovely guy but a man who works with too much fear and negativity, as soon as we start to play well with freedom and success he gets stage fright and bottles it. I'm not suggesting he gets a nosebleed when he stands on a peanut but the patterns have been clear when he gets touted for a top job. The players look line they have lost belief in the 'plan', the fans seem to in the main have lost belief and any last lingering belief I had in him disappeared rapidly last night. It's a real shame, nice guy but devoid of the mentality required to take a team forward in the premier league.

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