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Klopp impressed as Liverpool hold firm to see off Saints

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Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on August 17, 2019. – Liverpool won the game 2-1. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Jurgen Klopp denied that exhaustion was behind Liverpool’s inconsistent display in their hard-fought 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday.

Klopp’s team struggled in the first half and it was completely against the run of play when Sadio Mane put Liverpool ahead in first half stoppage-time at St Mary’s.

Clinical finishing from Roberto Firmino after 71 minutes seemed to have secured the three points.

But a dreadful error by Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian gifted a goal to Danny Ings, who later miskicked from six yards when an equaliser seemed inevitable.

Reds boss Klopp had argued for a later start to the domestic season after his players’ busy international schedule during the summer.

And his team, who played extra-time in Istanbul before beating Chelsea in the European Super Cup on Wednesday, looked fatigued for long periods.

But after the final whistle at St Mary’s, Klopp insisted tiredness had not been a major factor in the uneven performance.

“Southampton are a good team, they defend well with good counter-attacks, good organisation,” he said.

“It was nothing to do with the game in midweek. If we had come here with two weeks’ preparation it would have been difficult.

“I liked the game a lot. I’m not allowed to think too much about Wednesday but of course I know it so I was really impressed with how fresh we looked, at the start especially and how good we were.”

Adrian, injured after colliding with a celebrating fan on Wednesday and playing with a swollen ankle, had to rush from goal to smother a shot from Che Adams, who also put a free header over the crossbar during Liverpool’s tepid opening.

And the Spanish goalkeeper was forced to make a reflex save when Japan defender Maya Yoshida beat Virgil Van Dijk to a corner kick and headed goalwards from three yards out.

But shortly before the interval, Mane took a short pass from James Milner, arguably the one Liverpool player who looked fresh throughout and curled a beauty beyond the dive of Saints goalkeeper Angus Gunn.


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