Player Ratings: Liverpool duo impress as Klopp’s men beat Southampton to take title race to final day

Liverpool man Harvey Elliott

Kostas Tsimikas and Harvey Elliott were Liverpool’s best players as they beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s to keep their slim title hopes alive.

Southampton took the lead 13 minutes into the match. Lyanco won the ball from Diogo Jota, although he was lucky not to see a foul given to Liverpool. The centre-back drove forwards before giving it to Nathan Tella. He sent Nathan Redmond off down the left flank and the winger cut inside past Joe Gomez before sending a right-footed strike into the far corner, with the help of a James Milner deflection.

Liverpool got level in the 27th minute as Takumi Minamino scored against his former loan club. Gomez found Jota with a cross from the right, and the forward controlled well before playing into Minamino’s path. The Japan international took a couple of positive touches and fired into the top corner.

Klopp’s men went in front thanks to a fortuitous goal in the 67th minute. Tsimikas whipped a corner in and Mohamed Elyounoussi flicked it into a dangerous area, rather than attempting to clear properly. Joel Matip put his head forward and saw the ball loop into the top corner, beating Alex McCarthy.

Liverpool survived late pressure from Southampton to pick up three points on the south coast. They are still in the mix for the title, although they will have to rely on Manchester City dropping points to Aston Villa.

No Liverpool players absolutely shone, but Tsimikas and Elliott did well on the night.

Southampton (3-4-3)

Alex McCarthy: Got down smartly to push a Milner shot wide after an ambitious effort from the veteran midfielder. Couldn’t do much about Minamino’s goal as the forward smashed straight into the top corner. Beaten again by Matip later on as the defender’s header somehow managed to loop into the far corner. 6

Lyanco: Good work from the defender to steal from Jota and drag Saints up the pitch in the build up to Redmond’s goal, although Liverpool perhaps should have been given a foul. Arguably Southampton’s best defender on the day as he put in some important blocks. 7

Jack Stephens: Had to be alert to contain Jota and Firmino when the Reds duo began to get into full flow. Had a couple of shaky moments in possession but overall solid at the back. 7

Mohammed Salisu: Had his work cut out dealing with the likes of Minamino and Jota. A slight weak point on the left and Liverpool capitalised on this. 5

Kyle Walker-Peters: Engaged in an entertaining battle with Tsimikas out wide, although the Greece international won it. Battled with Matip for the header but just didn’t have the height to compete and the Liverpool centre-back scored as a result. 6

James Ward-Prowse (C): Didn’t have as much impact on the clash as he would have been hoping, and spent more of the game defending as it went on. His only free-kick opportunity was too far for him to beat Alisson from. A forgettable night for the Saints skipper. 5

Ibrahima Diallo: Like Ward-Prowse, spent most of his time chasing Liverpool players in and around the Southampton penalty area. Replaced in the 71st minute as Hasenhuttl brought Romeu on. 5

Nathan Redmond: Caught Liverpool out on the counter and did well to get away from Gomez before finding the back of the net. Shot was aided by a touch off Milner. This goal meant he was Southampton’s best player at St Mary’s. 8

Mohamed Elyounoussi: Had little impact in attack and spent most of his time helping Walker-Peters to deal with Liverpool’s onslaught on the left. Extremely quiet, showed nowhere near what he is usually capable of. 4

Armando Broja: Looked to capitalise on Liverpool’s lack of Virgil van Dijk and got in behind the Reds defence early on, only to be thwarted by Alisson. However, Konate and Matip kept him at bay for the rest of the match. Konate in particular bulled him whenever he tried to break for Southampton. 5

Nathan Tella: Got an assist early on by sending Redmond off and watching his team-mate do the rest. Couldn’t influence proceedings much from then on though and finishes up with an average rating. 6


Oriol Romeu (on for Diallo, 71): Southampton looked more sturdy when he was in the midfield, so it’s surprising Hasenhuttl didn’t give him a start. 7

Stuart Armstrong (on for Tella, 71): Brought on to get Southampton a point but didn’t have the desired impact. 6

Che Adams (on for Broja, 83): N/A

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Liverpool (4-3-3)

Alisson: Had little hope of keeping Redmond’s opener out due to the deflection off Milner. Didn’t have much to do other than that as Broja and co failed to trouble him. 6

Joe Gomez: Couldn’t keep Redmond at bay as the wide man breezed past him before giving the Saints the lead. His 27th-minute cross then helped to put Southampton under pressure in the build up to Liverpool’s first goal. Substituted at half time after sustaining an injury. 6

Joel Matip: Instinctive header from Tsimikas’ corner to put Liverpool in front for the first time in the match. Had a quiet game other than his goal though, as Konate mainly dealt with Broja. 7

Ibrahima Konate: Had an early scare when Broja went through on goal but won the battle against the Albanian striker for the remainder of the match. 7

Kostas Tsimikas: Emulated his left-back counterpart Andy Robertson well and got forward at almost every opportunity. Put a great cross in for Jota in the second half, but his team-mate couldn’t quite finish. His dangerous corner helped to set up Matip’s headed goal. 8

Curtis Jones: Outshone by Elliott on the night, although he did link up the play well. Ultimately didn’t do enough to impress Klopp or put himself in contention for a starting spot. 6

Roberto Firmino and Jack Stephens

James Milner (C): In the team to provide leadership and experience while flanked by two young midfielders. Positive in possession and looked get Liverpool on the attack with piercing passes into the front three. Had to move to right-back at half time as Henderson replaced Gomez after the defender’s injury, but did this job well. 7

Harvey Elliott: Regularly found pockets of space in and around the Southampton penalty area to cause Liverpool’s opponents problems. Improved as the game went on and brilliantly linked midfield with the front three. Klopp took him off midway through the second half to bring on an extra forward in Origi. 8

Takumi Minamino: Demonstrated good composure to find the top corner when under pressure from the Southampton defence. Looked bright in small periods, although the goal was certainly his best moment of the match. 7

Roberto Firmino: Looked lively in the early stages and showed some nice touches when linking up with Jota. A goal would have topped it off for the Brazil international. 7

Diogo Jota: Attacker effectively brought down Gomez’s cross and then set Minamino up for his 10th goal of the season, getting Liverpool on level terms. Had a great chance to give Liverpool the lead soon after the break but dragged his left-footed effort wide. A good all-round performance but certainly should have gotten on the scoresheet. 7


Jordan Henderson (on for Gomez, 45): Brought on at the interval to replace the injured Gomez, with Milner moving to right-back. Continued where Milner left off, holding Fabinho’s position in the middle of the park to allow Elliott and Jones to get forward. 7

Divock Origi (on for Elliott, 65): Caused Southampton defenders problems with his aerial threat and helped to ensure Liverpool got the three points. 7

Naby Keita (on for Firmino, 83): N/A