Southampton surprises Wolves, strengthens safety bid (video)

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  • Redmond bags brace
  • Sims, Ings lively in win
  • Boly, Long also score

Southampton moved eight points clear of the drop zone with five to play following a 3-1 win over Wolves at St. Mary’s on Saturday, all-but-completing Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s saintly resurgence.

Nathan Redmond scored twice and Shane Long added a goal in the win, while Willy Boly scored Wolves’ only marker.

The loss hurt Wolves’ seventh-place chances, though Leicester City and Everton also lost this weekend.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saints were in a hurry to pad their bid for Premier League safety, and Josh Sims took advantage in his first Premier League start of the season. The 22-year-old’s cross was put home by Redmond for a second minute lead.

Sims was lively missing out on a chance to set up Ings before later misfiring after Ings set him up for a shot of his own.

Boly answered in the 28th with a monstrous leap to meet a Joao Moutinho corner kick, but Saints would not be bowed by the equalizer.

Two minutes later, it was Redmond again who cooly beat the keeper after some neat interplay between — you guessed it — Sims and Ings.

Saints put it to bed off substitute Long, who knifed a Maya Yoshida pass past Patricio with the outside of his boot.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

PL AT HALF: Saints, Burnley, Bournemouth lead; Cardiff in trouble

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Following Tottenham’s 4-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town, we’re not quite seeing the same blitz of goals across four 10 a.m. ET Saturday kickoffs in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton 0-1 Bournemouth

A well-worked 1-2 between Dan Gosling and Callum Wilson has the former on the score sheet, as Brighton seems destined to stay in the Premier League if only by virtue of Cardiff’s continued struggles.

Fulham 0-0 Everton

The relegated Cottagers look up for the challenge of Marco Silva‘s in-form Toffees, with Aleksandar Mitrovic hitting the bar.

Burnley 1-0 Cardiff City

Chris Wood is the goal scorer at Turf Moor, as Burnley is handling Cardiff in a must-win for the visitors.

Southampton 2-1 Wolves

Nathan Redmond has scored twice as Saints bagged an early goal and answered Willy Boly‘s equalizer within two minutes at St. Mary’s.

Chairman Ralph Krueger leaves Southampton

Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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Influential Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger will leave the club effective June 30, saying:

“Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. It is the journey in-between that I will treasure. Thank you Southampton Football Club for the journey.”

[ MORE: Arsenal, Aubameyang on racism ]

Krueger was a surprise hire at St. Mary’s, having come from a hockey background in Germany and a short stint with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

Shortly after the time in Alberta, Krueger signed on to run Saints, shepherding the club after Mauricio Pochettino left to join Tottenham Hotspur.

The team qualified for the League Cup Final under his stewardship, and twice qualified for the Europa League.

But successive Premier League relegation scraps led to a change, and perhaps the timing of the end of the NHL regular season could also be a sign that hockey is calling him home?

Saints owner Katharina Liebherr said, “Ralph laid the foundations for the Saints to be a sustainable team that put pressure on the top sides in the Premier League.”

That’s the truth. What’s next for Ralph? JPW spoke at length with the chairman in 2017. We trust you’ll be impressed with the men (or both men. Your call).

“World class” Liverpool led by Salah again, title dream intact

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SOUTHAMPTON — It was a familiar story. Liverpool won. Mohamed Salah scored a world class goal.

But that oh so familiar script had stopped playing out in recent weeks. But Salah turned on the magic to lift Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought win at Southampton on Friday.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

If Liverpool are going to win the title, these are the kind of games they have to win. They were away at a fired up side who are scrapping against relegation, but much improved, and Liverpool fell behind early on but then battled their way back into the game.

Drawing 1-1 with 10 minutes to go, Salah broke and ran 50 yards before clipping a delicious shot off the post and in to send Liverpool’s fans wild and move them two points clear of Manchester City (who have played one less game) with five games to go.

Liverpool’s dreams of winning a first league title since the 1989-90 season remain intact, and Salah scored his first goal in nine games in stunning fashion. Speaking after the game about Salah’s recent slump, Jurgen Klopp hailed his Egyptian wizard.

“It was never in doubt about him being a great player, from my side. Goal number 50 for Liverpool, that is an incredible number,” Klopp said. “As a striker you have chances and because each striker is a human being as well, maybe you have better moments and less good moments. He is pretty consistent. The physical things are always there, but it is normal that he has to adapt to the situation, how he always stayed calm to deal with the situations. It is only around us that it is a big thing, we don’t really care but it is a nice moment, and a really good moment for him to score his first goal in a while.”

Salah’s celebration said it all. He whipped off his shirt and surged towards the Liverpool fans. It was one of relief more than delight, as the Egyptian had been struggling but his class shone through at a pivotal moment.

These are the kind of moments Liverpool’s fans will remember most if they do go on and win the title, and Salah forcing a late winner against Tottenham last Sunday and now delivering a moment of sheer class against Saints proves he is back to his pivotal best.

Klopp’s Liverpool struggled early on against Southampton, as they fell behind to a Shane Long goal and could have been 2-0 down had Long finished off a glorious chance. But the longer the game went on, the more Liverpool’s class showed and Naby Keita‘s first half equalizer gave them a foothold in the game.

James Milner and Jordan Henderson came on in the second half to add experience, and late on Salah delivered a moment of brilliance, while Roberto Firmino did superbly to set up Henderson for the third.

Klopp’s trademark smile got wider when he talked about their two late goals to down a spirited Saints.

“The two goals we scored were simply world-class,” Klopp said. “Super, super goal from Mo, Bobby so important to make the run but couldn’t play because the ankle wasn’t so good, fantastic finish. But then Bobby again chasing the whole world pretty much and winning that ball brings it to a one-on-one situation, super pass. 3-1. It was of course close, but that was clear from the first second. Everybody will come here in the future, will feel that. That makes it even more satisfying and brilliant that we could win it. It was really big for us.”

Liverpool have played a game more than Man City, but they have now put the pressure back on the reigning champions who play before them next Sunday.

Klopp’s men are getting the job done, just about, but the fact that Salah is back delivering sensational goals and standing tall when they needed him most will be a huge bonus heading into the final five games of the season.

Salah saves Liverpool with late goal to seal comeback over Southampton (video)

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Liverpool cannot afford a slip, needing perfection down the stretch to keep pace with Manchester City and keep the title hopes alive.

The Reds were far from perfect on Friday at St. Mary’s, battered in midfield and pressed by a Jurgen Klopp clone on the opposing touchline. Ultimately, despite an imperfect performance, they earned a perfect result thanks to Mohamed Salah‘s 80th minute goal that sent Liverpool on its way to a 3-1 victory over Southampton despite falling behind inside the opening 10 minutes.

Liverpool fought back the entire match, as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s press baffled the likes of Naby Keita and Fabinho. The Reds were exposed at times, but by halftime, they seemed to have sorted things out, and by the hour mark, they were in full control, having made the appropriate substitutions to expose the talent gap.

Southampton went in front just nine minutes in as Shane Long found himself wide open in front of net. A ball in from deep delivered by Ryan Bertrand found Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who managed to get himself in front of Virgil Van Dijk and flick the ball with his head. It fell perfectly behind him to Long who was waiting, and with Andrew Robertson overplaying the ball, Long was all alone to punch in the finish.

Long nearly had a second in the 18th minute, and probably should have scored, but he somehow whiffed on a cross from the left. Had he connected, he would have been all along in front of goal with just Alisson to beat yet again.

Liverpool drew level on 36 minutes as Southampton cleared two previous attempts, but on the third Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s ball from near the corner flag found Naby Keita at the back post, and he headed Liverpool back level. There was a hint of offside early in the buildup as Mohamed Salah made a run, but it was a

After the break, the Reds maintained possessional control but Southampton continued to prove dangerous on the break. Slowly as the half wore on, the visitors build themselves into the ascendency. Liverpool had a penalty shout as Keita threw himself to ground under contact by Maya Yoshida just before the hour mark, and while the defender made slight contact, the referee let play continue.

By the 67th minute, it was all Liverpool on the attack. Roberto Firimino nearly scored a Goal of the Season candidate, flicking the ball over his defender to put himself clean through, but Yoshida was on hand to make an enormous block. It took 15 more minutes, but eventually Liverpool found the all-important moment.

On the break off a Southampton corner, Salah found himself one-on-one across midfield with the lone Southampton defender back in Bertrand. Redmond also managed to get back, but the Egyptian split the two and unleashed a right-footed effort from the top of the box, putting it past Angus Gunn who appeared somewhat surprised to see Salah shoot rather than pass Firmino to his left.

The goal sent Liverpool through, and they secured the three points on yet another break as a long ball from van Dijk deep in Liverpool’s half found a breaking Firmino down the right, and the Brazilian sensed a teammate streaking down the middle. His cross found Jordan Henderson flying down the center unmarked for an easy finish to put Liverpool 3-1 up.

The win sent Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table by two points, and while Manchester City still holds the advantage thanks to its game in hand, the pressure is back on Pep Guardiola to take care of business. Had Liverpool dropped points, the title race would have swung heavily in City’s favor owning a lead plus the game in hand.