Thanks to Southampton, Liverpool head further south
Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool
Southampton 1-0 Liverpool
These are not the results one would associate with the current Premier League Champions.
This too, after the 7-nil thrashing of Crystal Palace which now seems a distant memory.
It’s funny how form suddenly deserts the best of teams, and The Reds are certainly facing a slump.
After two rather unexpected draws, which for me, should have been victories against teams in the bottom half of the table before the New Year, The Reds were surely expected to arrest this slump in form and beat Southampton to bring their campaign back on track in their first outing of 2021.
Alas, what happened next was more shocking than seeing a carnivore turn vegetarian.
The Reds soared for sure, albeit the wrong way, totally south, with losing 1-nil to The Saints.
What’s more, they created a new record of their longest wait to hit the target in over five years, when they took 75 minutes to have their first shot on goal.
The last time The Reds had achieved this least envied feat was way back in 2015 against their previous opponents Newcastle, taking 89 minutes.
Need I say more?
So, let’s see how this rather disastrous performance for the Merseyside club panned last night.
The Saints off to a flying start
In only the second minute, ex-Liverpool star Danny Ings drew first blood by lofting the ball over Alisson to give Southampton the lead after a good pass from teammate James Ward-Prowse.
The Englishman with this deft piece of skill scored his 50th Premier League goal to put Liverpool on the back foot from the word go.
Both teams would then continue to create opportunities albeit all being off target, though Liverpool had their best chance just before half-time when Sadio Mane did well to create a yard of space down the left flank and offer the ball to Mohamed Salah who unfortunately headed it wide.
The score at the stroke of halftime stood at 1-nil in favour of The Saints.
Liverpool could only try
The Reds tried hard in the second half to push for an equaliser though they could only manage their first shot on target as late as the 75th minute with Sadio Mane not giving much sweat to the Southampton keeper Fraser Forster in the exchange.
The Saints were almost two to the good in the 84th minute, when Alisson had a rush of blood to run out of the D to save a cross from Southampton defender Jan Varley, and missed the ball completely in the bargain.
The ball was headed straight into the Liverpool net before captain Henderson finally managed to avert the disaster.
This play summed up Liverpool’s performance on a night where they were lucky to only be wreaked with one goal.
Such was their misery that they could only manage one shot on target in seventeen attempts vis-à-vis Southampton’s three shots on target in seven attempts.
To further add fuel to the fire of misery, this was also Liverpool’s longest winless run in the League with the last being way back in 2018.
Certainly, gloom galore for me and my fellow Kopites.
The Daunting Red Devils up next
A resurgent Manchester United face us next with the same points and one game in hand.
This contest would surely be epic provided Liverpool can turn up as the Champions we know them to be on this historical occasion, the biggest rivalry in English Football.
Anything less would see The Reds being decimated.
Well, as a die-hard Liverpool fan, I would surely hope not and in victory or in defeat, it’s our duty to remind every Reds’ player ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone!’