Liverpool Holds on for Win Against Southampton Despite Adrian Howler
The Spanish shot-stopper only joined the club on August 5 to provide cover for Alisson Becker, but was immediately thrown in at the deep end after the Brazilian keeper sustained a calf injury in Liverpool’s opening day Premier League victory over Norwich.
In his second game for the Reds, Adrian proved to be hero as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to win the UEFA Super Cup final on Wednesday.
However, as the Liverpool players thronged around Adrian to congratulate him on his match-winning penalty save to thwart Tammy Abraham, a supporter ran from the stands to join in the celebrations and somehow managed to injure the goalkeeper’s ankle in the melee.
On Friday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed he had concerns that Adrian might not be fit for Saturday’s Premier League game against Southampton and the Champions League winners might have to rely on either 35-year-old Andy Lonergan or 20-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher, who has just graduated from the club’s academy.
In the end, Adrian was fit enough to play against Southampton and the Spaniard had another eventful 90 minutes.
Southampton were on top in the first half and Adrian brilliantly saved Maya Yoshida’s header after a corner before rushing out of his goal to deny Che Adams.
Just before half-time, Sadio Mane’s superb shot gave Liverpool the lead, with Roberto Firmino extending the Reds’ lead after the interval.
Liverpool were in cruise control — until the 83rd minute when Adrian took too long to clear the ball, with his shot rebounding off Danny Ings and into the net to revive Southampton’s hopes of securing a point.
Late on former Liverpool striker Ings had another good chance grab a draw for Southampton but Klopp’s side held on for their second successive Premier League win of the season.
“He has finally arrived because it is his third game and so it is normal for a Liverpool keeper to tick that box [by making a mistake] … Now we can carry on,” Klopp told the BBC as he reflected on Liverpool’s win and Adrian’s error.
“I said before the game that most of the headlines were written, everyone was prepared for what looked like a banana skin, because Southampton had lost their first game and we had problems here last year,” added the Liverpool manaer.
“Our plan for the headline was ‘the mentality giants are in town’ — that was my headline. I thought the boys fought for each yard of the pitch and played good football and scored wonderful goals.”
Arsenal also has six points after beating Burnely 2-1 earlier on Saturday, thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
In Saturday’s final Premier League game defending champion Manchester City drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur.
City led twice in the game, first through Raheem Sterling’s header and then Sergio Aguero’s close-range finish, but goals from Erik Lamela and substitute Lucas Moura secured a point for Tottenham.
In stoppage time, substitute Gabriel Jesus looked to given the home side a dramatic win, but the goal was disallowed after VAR ruled the ball had struck Aymeric Laporte’s arm before it reached the Brazilian forward.
“I’m in love with VAR,” quipped Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.