Southampton turned in a much-improved performance against Liverpool following their 3-0 trouncing at the hands of Burnley last weekend but were still unable to come away with a positive result.
The Reds defeated Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side 2-1 on Saturday, with goals in either half providing the hosts with a sucker punch.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring with an outstanding, curling effort beyond the reach of Angus Gunn. After the interval, Liverpool went two up, as Roberto Firmino glided past challenges to fire into the bottom corner.
Danny Ings came off the bench against his former side and got himself his first league goal in 2019 after Adrian’s pass ricocheted off him and into the back of the net.
However, a late comeback was not to be for Southampton, who now find themselves in 19th place after losing their first two matches of the new season.
So, who benefitted from the game against Liverpool and who came out a little worse for wear? I’ve taken a look at three winners and three losers from the team’s 2-1 defeat.
Winner: Oriol Romeu
Romeu was back to his best on Saturday. His passing was exquisite, he made some exceptional challenges and he grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. He was the clear Man of the Match for Saints.
Loser: Danny Ings
Ings did get himself on the score sheet after some good pressing, but he hardly covered himself in glory during his cameo against Liverpool. He played well but missed a gilt-edged chance to level the scoring late on. He’ll be kicking himself, and hoping to make amends at Brighton.
Winner: Moussa Djenepo
Djenepo made his Saints debut in the unfamiliar role of left wing-back and was impressive. He only had a brief spell to make an impact, but looked at home in the Premier League, drawing fouls and creating chances for his team in dangerous areas. He’s certainly endeared himself to the St Mary’s faithful already.
Loser: Sofiane Boufal
Boufal, despite a solid build-up to the new season and a reasonable cameo against Burnley, was left out of the squad entirely. It was a somewhat confusing decision from Hasenhuttl, but the Moroccan will now have to work even harder to force his way into the manager’s plans. Especially with Djenepo staking his claim with an impressive debut performance…
Winner: Kevin Danso
Well, this man certainly doesn’t have a battle on his hands as he goes in search of a starting berth against Brighton. Danso was on the bench for the Liverpool defeat, but with the likes of Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard again failing to convince, it seems inevitable that the young Austrian will come in sooner rather than later. He ought to find regular game time rather easy to come by this season…
Loser: Jack Stephens
Stephens didn’t have a great game at Burnley, and following Danso’s integration into the first-team setup, he was nowhere to be seen against Liverpool. He now appears to be Hasenhuttl’s fifth-choice central defender, and having not even featured on the bench at the weekend, it’s hard to see a future for him at St Mary’s.