Player ratings as stunner Danny Ings sink disappointing Reds
Liverpool were shocked on the south coast as a fine early effort from Danny Ings doomed the champions to a 1-0 loss to Southampton, their first in 12 league appearances.
Ings returned to haunt his former employers with less than two minutes on the clock to give Southampton a good start. A free kick from James Ward-Prowse, completed with a disguised run from Theo Walcott, surprised Trent Alexander-Arnold in two minds, and the Burning Ings lifted him over Alisson with his left foot as it seemed impossible to score.
Southampton could have expected to launch into an attack after scoring so early, but it was not from a Liverpool side who seemed devoid of ideas. A disjointed team that featured Jordan Henderson at center-back failed to significantly break the Saints, who returned home with three earned runs.
Let’s move on to some player notes …
Fraser Forster (GK) – 6/10 – The veteran goalkeeper’s first appearance in the Premier League since April last year, but he looked confident in his abilities, even though he had had a much quieter evening than he expected. Did not face a shot on target until the 75th minute when he held on from Sadio Mane.
Kyle Walker-Peters (RB) – 8/10 – His buzzing offensive presence sometimes got Andy Robertson guessing and handled Mane’s threat admirably.
Jan Bednarek (CB) – 8/10 – Still a steady and controlled performance from a player who is quietly becoming one of the best center-backs in the Premier League. He threw himself in front of everything as is the nature of his game – he leaves nothing to chance.
Jack Stephens (CB) – 7/10 – Another great defensive performance from a player who becomes central for Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Ryan Bertrand (LB) – 7/10 – Quieter than his counterpart on the other side of the field but was not wrong in any of his work.
Stuart Armstrong (RM) – 6/10 – I didn’t have much luck hitting the ball but it was the consequence of Southampton’s goal earlier than anything. I followed Robertson well and contributed to an exceptional defensive display.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) – 8/10 – His smart kick, as usual, created their first goal and he brought focus and leadership to their midfield as they defended the lead.
Ibrahima Diallo (CM) – 7/10 – Only his second start for the first team after a frustrating start to life in England, but it didn’t hurt his prospects as he looked at home in Hasenhuttl’s high-intensity midfield setup.
Moussa Djenepo (LM) – 5/10 – Barely made contact before an apparent hamstring injury forced him to leave.
Danny Ings (CF) – 8/10 – Absolutely daring final for the first goal as he lobbed Alisson from an impossible angle. He kept the makeshift Liverpool center-backs guessing with his ingenious movement and was a constant threat.
Théo Walcott (CF) – 7/10 – A disguised run sold Trent Alexander-Arnold on the river for the opening goal and he continued to be a smart and efficient foil for Ings.
Nathan Tella – 7/10
Daniel N’Lundulu – 6/10
Yann Valery – 6/10
Alisson (GK) – 6/10 – He didn’t have much to do other than remove the ball from his net, but there was nothing he could do against Ingers’ ridiculous finish.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 4/10 – Desperately misjudged the flight of the ball for the Southampton opener and struggled to deliver his usual threat in the final third. Has given the ball 38 times, more than any player in a Premier League game this season, and his substitution for the last 15 says it all.
Jordan Henderson (CB) – 6/10 – Forced to back down with Klopp opting for the experience against a Southampton side, he expected to ask some serious questions of his back line. Did the job competently, but its limited air presence was surprised a few times.
Fabinho (CB) – 6/10 – Start looking at home from the center back now but will have a more confident performance than this.
Andy Robertson (LB) – 6/10 – Perhaps Liverpool’s most powerful attacking threat, but that really doesn’t say much after a bad day at the office.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – 6/10 – It’s not often that Wijnaldum’s low-key nature is a real drawback, but Liverpool could have done with providing something for him here.
Thiago (CM) – 5/10 – Typically sharp in his passes, but was limited to far fewer touches than he’s used to by a Southampton side who gave little in the engine room. An early booking put him off his pace somewhat.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) – 4/10 – Called in to give Klopp something different, but he looked hesitant as he continued his return from injury. Still finding his feet and it showed he was replaced before his time.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 5/10 – I tried and tried and tried again but barely could find half a yard of space as Southampton slammed the door.
Roberto Firmino (CF) – 4/10 – Absolutely anonymous for the most part. Really disappointing, as his form seemed to be recovering.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 5/10 – The best of Liverpool’s top three, but it was a bit like picking a favorite nut kick one night to forget.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 5/10
James Milner – 6/10