Southampton 1-2 Liverpool
Goals: Danny Ings (£6.0m) | Sadio Mané (£11.5m), Roberto Firmino (£9.5m)
Assists: James Milner (£5.5m), Mané
Bonus Points: Mané x3, Firmino x2, Ings x1
Liverpool’s performance at Southampton on Saturday proved right those Fantasy Premier League managers who had concerns after the Super Cup final.
Having played 120 minutes in Istanbul midweek, the Reds probably did not deserve to take all three points from the Saints as they did not play to their usual high standards.
That led to Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) recording his first blank of the 2019/20 season at just the second hurdle.
The Egyptian was largely anonymous at the St. Mary’s Stadium, only finding himself presented with one decent chance on Saturday afternoon.
After making a trademark run cutting in from the right, Salah bore down on Angus Gunn‘s (£4.5m) goal, only for Southampton’s shot-stopper to deflect the effort away with his feet.
Despite Klopp’s insistence that a 120-minute outing would not hamper Salah in Gameweek 2, Liverpool’s manager took the player off in the 78th minute and replaced him with Divock Origi (£5.6m).
Whether Fantasy managers should have any lasting concerns about Salah remains to be seen though.
It will not be every week that the Egyptian will be forced into extra-time midweek before a Saturday Premier League match.
Furthermore, with a home match against Arsenal next, a side who Liverpool scored five against at Anfield last season, it probably does not serve well to make any kneejerk reactions to Salah’s Gameweek 2 blank.
However, a 14-point haul for Sadio Mané (£11.5m) might just give some Fantasy managers itchy feet.
The former Southampton man returned to the starting line-up after his late return from African Cup of Nations action over the summer and got himself a goal and assist against his former employers.
The Senegalese international played only 103 minutes in the Super Cup final, which might have helped his cause, although in truth he wasn’t any more involved in the Liverpool action than Salah.
Yes, it was his excellent curled effort from range that gave Liverpool the lead, but he, like Salah, was also not at his best in a game largely dominated by Southampton.
The same goes for Roberto Firmino (£9.5m), who outscored Salah in this game but did not necessarily offer much more than him across the course of the game.
We pointed out in Gameweek 1 that the Brazilian had registered more shots than Salah against Norwich, but it was the Egyptian who had more efforts on goal in this game.
Southampton asked plenty of questions of the European champions in the opening 45 minutes, Nathan Redmond (£6.5m) exploiting space on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s (£7.0m) side of the pitch.
The former Norwich midfielder saw a fierce effort go wide early on before Che Adams (£6.0m) dragged just beyond the far post from a corner.
Goalkeeper Adrian (£4.5m), who came through an ankle injury scare, was very much at the heart of Southampton’s attacking play for much of the game.
Early on, his clearance was charged down by James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m), setting the tone for the afternoon.
For long periods, the former West Ham man kept his side in the game, his most impressive save a point-blank stop from a Maya Yoshida (£4.5m) header after a Southampton corner.
Adrian also made some good saves in the second half too, but ultimately it was exclusively his fault when Danny Ings (£6.0m) scored in the 83rd minute.
In almost a carbon copy of what happened with Ward-Prowse in the first half, his attempted clearance was charged down by the forward, who did not have to add a second touch to see the ball roll into an empty net.
“Yes (I have spoken to Adrian): ‘You finally arrived, welcome!’ Ali did the same. Obviously, it’s a goalie thing at Liverpool, no problem with that as long as we win the games. All good.” – Jurgen Klopp
The fact that Adrian allowed himself to get closed down on two occasions will not inspire confidence in owners of Liverpool defensive assets, especially those with a double-up in this department. That said, Klopp did insist that his team played him too many short passes today, in light of his recent injury. Maybe a return to full fitness for Gameweek 3 might help Adrian somewhat.
“Adrian had a swollen ankle and we played too many balls back to him in that period. I was happy with everything he did today, all the saves, all that stuff. 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. I don’t think the goal was because of that, but a few other balls were. He is completely good with his feet. If you would have seen his ankle on Thursday after we left the plan then you would say even the pass before the [Southampton] goal was better than you would have expected! It is all fine.” – Jurgen Klopp
Southampton burst into a late fight-back and probably should have levelled things up, Ings screwing wide from short-range shortly after busting Liverpool’s clean sheet.
Either way, after what Norwich achieved at Anfield in Gameweek 1, Southampton’s domination of this game will add further worry to those with Liverpool defenders.
Unfortunately for those invested in Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m), or a combination, Liverpool did not get enough going to soften the blow of losing the clean sheet with some attacking returns.
Those concerned about the double-up especially will perhaps not be too excited about Arsenal coming to Anfield in Gameweek 3.
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