Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was delighted to contribute significantly for Liverpool again in Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win at Southampton.
The midfielder made his first league start since April 14, 2018 against one of his former clubs and performed strongly to help make it six points out of six for Jürgen Klopp’s team.
After the final whistle confirmed a hard-fought result secured by Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino goals, Oxlade-Chamberlain explained the emotion of being at the heart of a victory.
“It was nice to be back out there. In a winning performance is always nice as well,” the No.15 told Liverpoolfc.com at St Mary’s.
“In the first half I felt my way into it a bit and got to grips with what’s what. You have to play off triggers; so when Trent [Alexander-Arnold] gets the ball, it’s about getting back into rhythm with my movements off him and Mo [Salah] and the rest of the team. I think in the second half I settled into a bit better.
“I had an alright game, a decent game but the main thing was I wanted to make sure I focused on the defensive duties and making sure I was putting in the work and had the legs to help the boys. I’m glad we did that as a team.
“On a personal level, it’s nice for me, it has been a while since I started but I’m delighted that I could help contribute to the team because that’s what I’ve missed so much, being able to contribute and help this set of players to achieve things. It was really nice to be back out there.”
There were fewer than 72 hours between Liverpool’s energy-sapping UEFA Super Cup success in Istanbul and kick-off on the south coast on Saturday.
But Oxlade-Chamberlain revealed that the mentality in the squad ahead of the game meant nobody would allow fatigue to influence their display.
“We knew it was going to be a tough ask but we said straight after the game [in midweek] there were no excuses about playing 120 minutes for some of the lads or travel,” he said.
“The fixtures are there and you’ve got to go and win them. We didn’t want to come off the pitch with any excuses as to why we didn’t get the right result.
“We suffered in patches but we managed to come through them, which we knew was going to happen and we knew we had to do, so that’s really positive.
“We played some really good stuff in parts as well. We were under the cosh a bit at the end. But it was absolutely brilliant from the boys; after a big midweek, to come and do that at a tough place [shows] what we’re made of.”
A scrappy opening 45 minutes was highlighted by Mane’s outstanding curler to open the scoring just moments before half-time.
Liverpool improved after the break and doubled their advantage through Firmino, but a late Danny Ings response for Saints – an Adrian clearance striking the former Reds man and going into the net – kept the contest alive until the final whistle.
Oxlade-Chamberlain felt the visitors merited the three points for the way they dug in, though.
“At 2-0 that’s as comfortable as you’d probably feel in an away game at a place like this; we were controlling the game, keeping the ball well, creating chances,” the Englishman reflected.
“You can concede a goal and everything just flips like that. But you’ve got to expect that throughout the season and you’ve got to be able to withstand those moments.
“They had a few chances, they could have scored perhaps but we probably had more that we could have scored as well. So overall, on the balance of the play we deserved the win.
“The boys had to dig in deep, it was brilliant character from us. That’s what this team is made of and we’re going to have to keep doing that.”
The Reds began the season with a 4-1 victory over Norwich at Anfield, but defensive frailties were apparent in both that and the UEFA Super Cup triumph over Chelsea in midweek.
It was a difficult first half in Hampshire, but fortunately Sadio Mane kicked into gear in stoppage time, firing a brilliant curled effort beyond Angus Gunn to make it 1-0.
And Jurgen Klopp clearly had words in the dressing room, as Liverpool emerged for the second 45 a different beast, pushing relentlessly for a second.
Eventually, however, Firmino was able to fire past the ex-Man City youngster to give the Reds command of the tie, cutting inside and sending the ball low into the bottom corner.
That was not to be the last of the drama, though, as Adrian‘s shaky performance ultimately led to a shocking error from the Spaniard.
Fortunately it came too late, and Liverpool were able to hold on, with three points theirs as they return to Merseyside.
But with Arsenal to come next Saturday night, there were clear warning signs that need be to addressed.
Sadio Mane's brilliant opening goal in Saturday's win at Southampton is available to watch free on LFCTV GO now.
The Liverpool forward slammed in a curler in first-half stoppage-time to set his side on course for a 2-1 victory at St Mary's.
And you can see the stunning effort in the video above simply by registering with LFCTV GO free of charge.
Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe"Minute 83, Adrian thought, 'I've played really well so I have to make a mistake like Alisson did'," jokes Jurgen Klopp
Last Updated: 17/08/19 11:10pmJurgen Klopp laughed off Adrian's mistake in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Southampton
Jurgen Klopp laughed off goalkeeper Adrian's error against Southampton as following in regular number-one Alisson's footsteps.
Adrian's clearance, which struck Danny Ings before going in, ended up only costing Liverpool a clean sheet in their 2-1 win.
However, Klopp may have been in less jovial mood had former Reds striker Ings made a good connection on a late Yan Valery cross, with the Saints man missing the glorious chance to level.
Adrian had been a doubt to play at St Mary's because of an injury suffered when a fan knocked him over while celebrating Liverpool's Super Cup win on Wednesday night, but passed a late fitness test to start ahead of 35-year-old stand-in Andy Lonergan.
"Minute 83, Adrian thought, 'I've played really well so I have to make a mistake like Ali did and keep the game a little bit open'," Klopp joked.2:59 Highlights from Liverpool's 2-1 win against Southampton in the Premier League Highlights from Liverpool's 2-1 win against Southampton in the Premier League
"I said to him, 'Finally, it arrived, welcome'. Ali did the same, obviously it is a goalie thing at Liverpool. I have no problem with that as long as we win the game.
"Adrian had a swollen ankle, we played too many balls back to him in that period. I was happy with everything he did today, all the saves he made, all the other stuff.
"The other players need to feel the responsibility for the build-up for the balls back for him.
"He is good with his feet and if you would have seen his ankle on Thursday when we left the plane, then you would say that pass for the goal was better than you would have expected. It is all fine."
Liverpool looked as though the 4,000-mile round trip for their penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday had taken its toll in the first half, and Klopp referenced their long week in his post-match comments.2:54 Klopp felt his Liverpool side escaped a potential 'banana skin' against Southampton, after securing all three points at St Mary's Klopp felt his Liverpool side escaped a potential 'banana skin' against Southampton, after securing all three points at St Mary's
But he insisted their sluggish start had not been connected to their long week of travel and said Southampton had been the source of their frustration instead.
"Southampton are a good team. They defend well, they had good counter-attacks, good organisation," he said.
"This afternoon it was difficult again, nothing to do with the game midweek. I said before the game if we had come here with two weeks' preparation it would have been difficult.
"I liked the game a lot. It is not allowed to think too much about Wednesday but I know it, so I was really impressed with how fresh we looked, at the start especially, just how good we were.
"We deserved to win."Liverpool vs Arsenal
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It was a tough game on the south coast, however, as following their exploits in the UEFA Super Cup, Liverpool were met by a relentless Saints side.
This could prove a hugely important result for the Reds, and comes on the back of a trophy lift that saw the club restore their status as the most successful in English history.
“I have nothing to do with pretty much 98 percent of the trophies the club has won, or 99 percent!” he reflected.
“It took long enough to get rid of the burden of all the success in the past, so it’s good that we won the game.
“We will never forget that, but actually it’s easy to be happy after the game and be concentrated the next morning.
“It’s not like we now run constantly and celebrate, that’s all.
“That’s why I like it so much, we are not used to winning big things but coming to Southampton, I really loved how much respect we showed today.
“I said before the game this looks like the biggest banana skin in history. The headlines were already written.
“The headline I would prefer is ‘Mentality Giants Were in Town’. The boys did outstandingly well today.”
The difference came with a return to his preferred midfield role, and Klopp was full of praise for his No. 15 after the game.
“Brilliant. It was different, outstandingly good,” the manager said,
“Forty-five minutes on Wednesday, they helped for sure. To feel the intensity, and know you are ready, and then today we had to make changes and we did.
“Especially for us in the centre of the park it’s really important they are there, ready for all these long runs and decisive things.
“It was just good to have this opportunity, and Ox was obviously not bad today!”
“[I told him] welcome. Ali did the same, obviously it’s a goalie thing at Liverpool,” he said.
“No problem with that as long as we win the games.”
Jürgen Klopp saluted Liverpool for an 'outstanding job' done following their 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday.
A stunning Sadio Mane goal put the Reds ahead on the stroke of half-time at St Mary's, before Roberto Firmino's fine finish with 71 minutes on the clock appeared to have wrapped up an ultimately comfortable victory.
However, Danny Ings pulled one back late on for Southampton, the former Liverpool striker capitalising on a misjudged pass from Adrian to ensure a nervy end to proceedings.
The Reds, though, held out to secure all three points - much to the delight of Klopp.
Read on for a summary of the boss' post-match press conference...
On whether the victory is more significant and ‘bigger than it might have been’ given his side’s UEFA Super Cup exploits in midweek…
No. We played here last year I don’t know after which game and it was difficult. Southampton is a good team, they defend well, they are really just difficult to play. Good counter-attacks, good organisation, all that stuff. Last year, we were 1-0 down and won 3-1 right? That was really difficult and this afternoon it was difficult again. 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. It’s not allowed to think too much about Wednesday but of course I know it, so I was really impressed with how fresh we looked, in the start especially, just how good we were.
We controlled the game, we were fluent, all that stuff and then with the long balls and set-pieces Southampton came up then. But Sadio scored a fantastic goal in pretty much the best moment at least of the first half, in the last second pretty much. That helped, of course, and in the second half we made other big steps. We really controlled the game better, did a lot of good things, and then minute 83, I saw it up on the screen, and Adrian thought ‘I played really well, so maybe I have to make the same mistake as Ali did!’ and kept the game a little bit open. So then they came up and Ingsy had a big chance. That’s normal and I think then the boys felt the tiredness, that was the moment you think, ‘Really? Now we have to go again?’ So, we kept the result, I think we deserved the three points and I’m completely fine with that.
On whether he spoke to Adrian about his error…
Yes: ‘You finally arrived, welcome!’ Ali did the same. Obviously it’s a goalie thing at Liverpool, no problem with that as long as we win the games. All good.
On Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s display…
Brilliant. It was outstanding good. It was 45 minutes on Wednesday, we can now say they helped for sure, to get the minutes, to feel the intensity, and know you are ready for the intensity. Then today we had to make changes and we did. Especially for us it’s really important that in the centre of the park we are ready for all these long runs, all these decisive things, so we changed there… it was good to have this opportunity and Ox was obviously not bad today.
On Adrian’s performance…
Adrian had a swollen ankle and we played too many balls back to him in that period. I was happy with everything he did today, all the saves, all that stuff. The other players have to then feel more the responsibility for the build-up and cannot give all the balls back to him and hope the pain-killers still help or whatever. I don’t think the goal was because of that, but a few other balls were. He is completely good with his feet. If you would have seen his ankle on Thursday after we left the plane then you would say even the pass before the [Southampton] goal was better than you would have expected! It is all fine.
On how close Adrian was to not playing…
He had a clearing session this morning at 10 o’clock and then the message flew to my iPhone and said he is fine. If the message would have been he is not then I would have had to make a decision, but until then it was all good. We were waiting for that. He said at breakfast he would be fine, but we had to test it and that’s what we did.
On adding two trophies to Liverpool’s overall haul in the last couple of months…
I have nothing to do with pretty much 99 per cent of the trophies the club have won! It took long enough to get rid of the burden of all the success in the past, so it is good we won the games. We will never forget that for sure, our supporters will never forget that. Actually, it is easy to be happy after the game and then be concentrated the next morning about the next thing. It is not that we now run constantly through the floors or whatever and celebrate and don’t put our arms down! It’s all OK. That’s why I liked it so much [today]. We are not used to winning big things and then coming to Southampton, I really loved how much respect we showed today. I said before the game that this looks like the biggest banana skin in history; everybody is waiting for it and probably all the headlines were written already. I told the boys the headline I would prefer is ‘the mentality giants were in town’ – that’s how I feel it in the moment. The boys did an outstanding job for today, all good, let’s go home, recover and start again.
Liverpool’s old No. 28 couldn’t have missed if he tried, and the 83rd-minute goal gave life to a home crowd desperate to avoid a second straight defeat to start the season.
But speaking at his post-match press conference, Klopp pointed towards the Brazilian’s own slack possession play in the early games of his Reds career—most notably costing a goal against Leicester—in defence of his new backup.
“Second half we made another big step, controlled the game better, did a lot of good things,” he told reporters including This Is Anfield.
“Then minute 83 showed up on the screen and Adrian thought ‘I played really well, so maybe like Ali did maybe I have to make the same mistake’, and kept the game open.
“The boys then went ‘really? We have to go again?’.”
Klopp was asked if he had spoken to the summer signing about his error, and he confirmed he had—but rather than criticise, he joked that he had told Adrian: “Finally, you arrived.”
“[I told him] welcome. Ali did the same, obviously it’s a goalie thing at Liverpool,” he continued.
“No problem with that as long as we win the games.”
Adrian came close to missing the game due to an ankle injury sustained in the celebrations in Wednesday night’s UEFA Super Cup victory over Chelsea, but the swelling subsided and the Spaniard was able to start.
However, while Klopp stressed that he had no issue with starting Adrian, he blamed his defenders for playing too many passes back.
“He had a clearing session this morning at 10 o’clock, and then the message flew to my phone that he was fine,” he explained.
“If the message was ‘he’s not fine’, then I’d have to make a decision. He said at breakfast he would be fine, but we had to test it.”
Meanwhile, speaking directly after Klopp, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl revealed he instructed his players to put pressure on the “not that comfortable” stopper to force errors.
“It’s no secret that the goalkeeper who is not in at the moment is for sure a fantastic footballer,” he said of Alisson.
“[Adrian]’s new, it’s normal that he’s not that comfortable and if you force him into mistakes maybe the mistakes come.
“We forced the mistake and that’s why he scored.”
Digital Football Journalist @ronnabeReport and highlights as Southampton come close after Adrian's clearance rebounds in off Danny Ings
Last Updated: 17/08/19 8:11pm2:59 Highlights from Liverpool's 2-1 win over Southampton on Saturday Highlights from Liverpool's 2-1 win over Southampton on Saturday
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino's goals gave Liverpool a 2-1 win at Southampton despite a late scare from the hosts.
A Liverpool performance which had started so poorly on the south coast still held a half-time lead thanks to Mane's curling strike just before the break, and they marked a much-improved second half with a smart finish from Firmino (71).
But goalkeeper Adrian, who passed a late fitness test to start the game, had a moment to forget when his clearance rebounded in off Danny Ings to set up a tense ending, during which the ex-Liverpool forward missed a golden chance to level from close-range.Player ratings
Southampton: Gunn (7), Valery (7), Bednarek (5), Vestergaard (6), Yoshida (5), Betrand (6), Hojbjerg (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Romeu (7), Redmond (7), Adams (5).
Subs: Ings (6), Armstrong (5), Djenepo (6).
Liverpool: Adrian (6), Alexander-Arnold (6), Matip (5), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Milner (6), Wijnaldum (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Salah (7), Firmino (7), Mane (8).
Subs: Fabinho (6), Origi (6), Henderson (n/a).
Man of the match: Sadio Mane
Southampton were left with nothing to show for a spirited effort come the full-time whistle, while Liverpool continued their perfect start and avoided any major issues from their 4,000-mile round trip to Istanbul for the Super Cup last Wednesday.Liverpool ride luck to stay perfect
Whether a result of their excursion to eastern Europe in midweek or not, Liverpool were well below their best and struggled to get any of their potent front-line into the game.
Their cause was not aided by James Milner's lengthy absence to receive stitches in a head injury, and with a man extra Southampton came close to an opener when James Ward-Prowse's corner was met by Maya Yoshida, but an instinctive save from Adrian kept the ball out.
Che Adams later should have opened his Saints account with another header from Oriel Romeu's cross but nodded over the bar unmarked from 12 yards.Sadio Mane's strike lit up an otherwise poor first-half Liverpool performance
With Liverpool unpunished for their sluggish start, they struck a cruel blow on the stroke of half-time. Mane was given space on the edge of the area from a throw-in and curled beyond Angus Gunn to dramatically alter the course of the game.
The half-time break did nothing to stop Liverpool taking full advantage of the momentum a goal can give, and suddenly they looked the side in full control.
It looked like the old Liverpool when Mane's clip over the top allowed Mohamed Salah to run through on goal before Gunn saved with his legs, but the front three didn't need to be at their best to double their lead. Mane robbed Jan Bednarek from a Southampton throw and cut in from the left before firing across the goalkeeper.
Firmino and Andrew Robertson missed chances to add to the scoreline with Southampton looking deflated, but they had reason to believe again when Adrian's howler of a clearance struck Ings and rebounded in.
Ings was a whisker away from stunning his former club minutes later when Jan Valery's low cross found him, but he side-footed wide from a great position.Manager reaction
Ralph Hasenhuttl: "If you play against a big team, you need a good performance to take something. We had a fantastic first half, a lot of chances and stressed them very early, invested a lot. A lot more than against Burnley, and I had a good feeling.2:32 Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl felt his side weren't clinical enough Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl felt his side weren't clinical enough
"But Mane scored a fantastic goal, these strikers are unbelievable, they do not need time and space and the second half was more difficult when they became more comfortable."
Jurgen Klopp: "It looked like a proper, proper banana skin since Wednesday night, it was about headlines and they had already been prepared. My favourite headline is the mentality giants are in town, and that's the game I saw.
"I'm really proud of what the boys did, I was part of the travel and what the boys did. We deserved the three points, no doubt about that, they had a little rise when Adrian helped them with the goal, but he's now arrived at Liverpool."Opta stats
The man who changed the game, Mane's goal gave the match a very different complexion at the break and was a touch of class which Liverpool had lacked in the opening 45 minutes.
He added another major contribution after the break by hassling Bednarek into a mistake which led to Firmino's goal and was a general nuisance in his first Premier League start of the season. 20 goals from his last 26 games is a formidable return.What's next?
Liverpool host Arsenal live on Sky Sports in the tea-time kick-off next Saturday at 5.30pm. Earlier that day Southampton travel to Brighton at 3pm.Soccer Saturday Super 6 is Back
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Liverpool made it two wins from two in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory at Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
After the hosts had threatened throughout the first half, it was Sadio Mane who opened the scoring in additional time, bending a sublime effort into the top corner from just inside the box to give the Reds the lead.
The visitors furthered their advantage when Roberto Firmino got off the mark for 2019-20 by drilling in a second on 71 minutes; however, former Liverpool forward Danny Ings reduced the arrears when Adrian’s attempted pass ricocheted off him and into the back of the net.
Ings then missed a chance to draw the Saints level before the end in a tense finale, but Jürgen Klopp’s side held on to clinch the three points.
With Adrian passed fit to start in goal after an ankle issue threatened to rule him out of contention, Liverpool made three changes to the team deployed against Chelsea in the Super Cup in midweek. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Georginio Wijnaldum and Firmino came in for Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi.
Liverpool kicked off at St Mary’s aiming to maintain their early-season momentum following the Premier League win over Norwich City and Super Cup triumph against Chelsea in Istanbul.
With four minutes on the clock, James Milner strode into space on the edge of the area and had a strike deflect into the arms of Angus Gunn as the Reds set about asserting themselves on the contest.
There was danger, however, when Che Adams attempted to reach a ball forward under the attentions of Virgil van Dijk on the 18-yard line, but his prod under pressure from the Dutchman was easily gathered by Adrian.
The Reds were dominating possession, but were thankful Maya Yoshida couldn’t make a connection with Adams’ volley on the turn from a corner when close to goal.
That opportunity came when then visitors were temporarily down to 10 men after a clash of heads left Milner requiring medical assistance on a cut – and it was another set-piece that presented Southampton with an opportunity.
Again, it was Yoshida causing the problem, but Adrian produced a stunning save at point-blank range to thwart the centre-back’s header.
By this point, the Saints were in the ascendancy and causing problems – and on 29 minutes, Yan Valery looked to pounce after Adrian had pushed away a low cross, but was unable to get a strike in on goal under pressure from opposing defenders.
At the other end, Mohamed Salah’s speed took him away from Yoshida to reach Andy Robertson’s low ball forward, though he could only snap a shot wide of the near upright.
Still, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men carved out another good opening when Oriol Romeu’s deep centre picked out Adams’ head, who bulleted over the crossbar.
Nevertheless, it was to be Liverpool who broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time.
Mane collected possession from Milner’s lay-off on the left corner of the area, shifted the ball onto his right foot and arched an unstoppable shot beyond Gunn into the top corner.
Having spent large parts of the opening half dealing with Southampton’s threat, Liverpool began the second period strongly.
Indeed, only a fine challenge from Jan Bednarek prevented a clear shooting opportunity for Firmino inside the box following Salah’s pass before Milner sent a half-volley skidding inches wide just after.
Then, on 56 minutes, Salah scampered in behind the home defence, only to have his attempt to steer across goal denied by the boot of Gunn.
Firmino then went agonisingly close to turning Mane’s square ball into the bottom corner with his side foot following a speedy raid down the left; however, it rolled a fraction wide of the post with Gunn beaten.
Ex-Red Ings did threaten when he curled just over the bar shortly after being introduced into the action as a substitute.
But Liverpool did grab a second when Mane won possession back from Stuart Armstrong on the left and pushed the ball into the path of Firmino. The Brazilian rode a couple of challenges as he strode across the box before reversing a shot beyond Gunn.
Gunn did keep out efforts from Mane and Robertson, while Adrian had to turn Matip’s interception from a cross around his own post.
Southampton were given late hope when Adrian’s attempted pass deflected against Ings and rolled into the net with eight minutes remaining.
Fortunately, the forward spurned a glorious opportunity to draw the home team level soon after when he failed to connect with a cross inside the six-yard box.
But Liverpool withstood the pressure to claim their second three points of 2019-20 so far.
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There was a further upgrade to the Champions Wall at Melwood on Saturday morning as Liverpool's fourth UEFA Super Cup was added to their honours list.
A penalty shootout win over Chelsea after a 2-2 draw in Istanbul secured the latest trophy in the club’s history on Wednesday, following up their Champions League triumph in June.
The newest achievement for Jürgen Klopp’s team is now reflected at the training ground as a shiny new ‘4’ was listed for their Super Cup tally – as you can see in the video above.