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Aug 19, 2019, 7:31:00 AM

Liverpool edge out Southampton

Liverpool equalled their longest ever Premier League winning streak on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Southampton that keeps them top of the table.

It was their 11th consecutive top-flight win, a run of form that included nine successive victories at the end of last season’s campaign, though they were made to sweat for the final few minutes after a glaring error by goalkeeper Adrián that gave the Saints a lifeline.

With just seven minutes to go at St Mary’s Stadium, the Reds were leading 2-0 when Adrián, who started the game as a replacement for the injured Alisson, kicked the ball against substitute Danny Ings, who claimed a goal to set up a tense few final minutes.

Striker Sadio Mané had given the visitors the lead near the end of the first half with a neat finish from the edge of the penalty area. That goal was arguably harsh on Southampton, who had created three good chances of their own. Adrián, who had picked up an ankle knock in an incident with a pitch invader at the UEFA Super Cup final in midweek, did well to keep out a header by Maya Yoshida, while Che Adams missed two excellent chances to level.

Midway through the second half, they were made to pay for their profligacy when Mané set up Roberto Firmino, who finished well to make it 2-0. The game seemed to be drifting away from Southampton until Adrián’s unforced error. Shortly after Southampton’s goal, they had another chance through Ings, who wasted the opportunity from inside the six-yard box.

The goal wasn’t Adrián’s first error of the game. With the score still at 0-0, he made a mess of an attempted clearance from a Virgil van Dijk backpass, hitting it against James Ward-Prowse, but fortunately for Liverpool, the ball deflected from the Southampton player and ran out of play.

Speaking after the game, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp defended his goalkeeper and suggested that in the first half particularly, he was still feeling the effects of his ankle injury:

“Adrián had a swollen ankle and we played too many balls back to him in that period. The other players have to then feel more the responsibility for the build-up and cannot give all the balls back to him and hope the pain killers still help or whatever.”

Nevertheless, Klopp will be concerned that his side, who remain the second favourites with sports betting companies to win the Premier League, have looked vulnerable defensively in their two league games so far, with a tough test against Arsenal coming up next weekend.

Words: Josh Dixon

Images: PA