Southampton, Aug 18 (IANS) Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino provided the offensive firepower in Liverpool’s 2-1 away victory over Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium. With the win, the Reds now have two victories in as many matches at the start of the new Premier League season.
The Champions League holders, who last season battled Manchester City down to the wire before having to settle for second place in the English league, broke the scoreless deadlock on Saturday in first-half stoppage time when Mane received the ball from James Milner at the top corner of the box, dribbled to his right and sent a remarkable curling strike into the upper-right part of the goal, Efe news reports.
Firmino then gave Liverpool an insurance goal in the 72nd minute when he dribbled to his right across the top of the penalty area and fired a shot into the left half of the goal past diving Southampton net minder Angus Gunn.
The Saints pulled one back in the 83rd minute on a close-range goal by substitute Danny Ings, who capitalized on a shockingly poor clearance by Spanish goalkeeper Adrian, the hero of Liverpool’s penalty-shootout victory over Chelsea in Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul.
Ings then had a golden opportunity a minute later to bring Southampton level against his former team, but his inability to score on a cross from Yan Valery at the near post allowed the Reds to escape with three points.
Although Liverpool had less time than usual to prepare for the Saints due to their mid-week battle against Chelsea, head coach Jurgen Klopp said the match would have been tough under any circumstances.
“Southampton is a good team. They defend well. They are really just difficult to play. Good counterattacks, good organization, all that stuff,” Klopp said. “Nothing to do with the game in midweek. I said before the game, if we would have come here with two weeks’ preparation it would be difficult. So I liked the game a lot, to be honest.”
In other Premier League action on Saturday, Arsenal also remained perfect through two games with a 2-1 win at home over Burnley, Everton topped Watford 1-0, Bournemouth held on for a 2-1 road victory over Aston Villa and Brighton and West Ham played to a 1-1 draw.
Finnish striker Teemu Pukki scored a hat trick in newly promoted Norwich City’s 3-1 home victory over Newcastle at Carrow Road.
With the win, Norwich City bounced back after getting off to a rough start in their Premier League return with a 4-1 loss to Liverpool on Aug. 9.