EFirst Ralph Hasenhüttl scolded loudly and couldn’t believe it. Even when the time to be replayed had already run out, Andre Marriner let the game continue. Southampton FC led 1-0 against Liverpool FC and the Austrian coach wanted nothing more than the final whistle. But the referee granted one last attack by coach Jürgen Klopp’s team. But when Liverpool played a corner backwards, Marriner had enough. He whistled off – and Hasenhüttl sank to his knees in the coaching zone and buried his face in his gloves.
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When he slowly recovered, everyone saw how overwhelmed the trainer was. Tears ran from his eyes. Emotionally moved, Hasenhüttl went to the lawn to thank his players for their strong performance against the champions. Later, when he had recovered, Hasenhüttl had also found his humor again: “I had tears in my eyes – because of the wind,” he said at BBC Sport. “When you watch the guys fight with everything they have, that makes me proud. You need the perfect game against Liverpool – and I think we had that. “
It was only in the 92nd minute, shortly before the referee’s final whistle, that he thought that the victory could actually be something. Southampton had led almost the entire game. Danny Ings scored 1-0 in the second minute. After a free kick, he lifted the ball with a lot of feeling over Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker. It was a cold shower for Klopp and Liverpool. And the championship leader didn’t really recover from it. The “Reds” looked exhausted and only brought one shot at goal in the entire season.
Hasenhüttl, who came to the Saints after his time in Leipzig in December 2018 and was last unable to look after his team because he was in quarantine due to his wife’s corona disease, saw the reason for Liverpool’s defeat in the performance of his team. “We were under a lot of pressure, but defense was key today. We tried to play football for this. We did that well. After this intense game, my voice is almost completely gone. My boys are tired, the way it has to be if you want to win against such an opponent. We believed in ourselves. “
While Southampton is sixth only four points behind Liverpool, the pursuers are now very close on the heels of the league leaders. Manchester United are level on points but still have some catching up to do. And on January 17th there will be a duel between the arch-rivals. Manchester travels to Liverpool on Anfield Road for the absolute top game (17.30 on Sky). The day before (9 p.m.), Southampton takes on Leicester City, the third to have a point less than Liverpool and United. A victory there and the Hasenhüttl team would suddenly be right in the middle of the top group.
“We wanted to start very differently than we did,” said a disappointed Klopp at Sky Sports. “It made life very difficult for us.” The way Southampton played shouldn’t have surprised his team, but they “looked like they were surprised”. It was only after half-time that Liverpool picked up the pace and constricted their opponents, but Southampton didn’t really come in need. Also because, in Klopp’s opinion, the referee didn’t play along. The German saw a handball in the penalty area and two fouls on Sadio Mané. “I don’t know why that wasn’t whistled.”
Liverpool are undoubtedly in shape. Everything looked so good for Master in mid-December. On the 2-1 in the last minute in the top game against Tottenham, the Klopp-Elf consolidated first place. Liverpool then swept Crystal Palace 7-0 off the pitch. Apparently the powder was shot. After Christmas there was a 1-1 draw at home against the penultimate West Bromwich Albion, then a 0-0 win at Kellerkind Newcastle United. And now? On Friday it’s Aston Villa in the FA Cup. In any case, Klopp’s demand is clear: “Now we have to show a reaction!”