Southampton rallies from 2-0 down to beat Liverpool 3-2
SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Southampton feared a repeat of its League Cup humiliation after going two goals down early in their Premier League match against Liverpool before rallying to win 3-2.
Substitute Sadio Mane scored twice at St Mary’s as Southampton boosted their chances of qualifying for Europe.
Going into the game tied on points in the table, Liverpool was in firm control and two goals ahead at the break, threatening to repeat its 6-1 win here in December.
Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge scored in the 17th and 22nd minutes respectively as Liverpool dominated the first half but Mane, available after his red card against Stoke was rescinded, hit a brace either side of a fine strike by Graziano Pelle.
Mane could have had an instant impact but missed a 49th-minute penalty.
Southampton started the match well and had strong calls for a penalty turned down as Shane Long turned former Saints defender Dejan Lovren before bursting into the box and going down in the box as the Croatian looked to close him down.
Pelle then fired over from Steven Davis’ pass before Liverpool started to create chances, Sturridge stinging the palms of goalkeeper Fraser Forster before accidentally blocking Divock Origi’s strike.
But nobody could get in the way of Coutinho’s opening goal just seconds later as the Brazil international curled a shot past Forster from 25 yards.
For large periods of the first half Liverpool threatened to run riot.
It was soon two goals ahead as a lightening counter-attack left Origi and Sturridge against two Saints’ defenders - and it was the latter who tucked away Liverpool’s second goal, having been picked out by Origi.
Joe Allen should have added a third as he burst into the box but his shot was too close to Forster, who kept the effort out with his foot.
Coutinho drifted in a corner just after the half-hour mark and, as it dropped to Allen, the Wales international finished into the corner but his celebrations were short-lived as Mamadou Sakho was deemed to be interfering with play while stood in an offside position.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman reacted at the interval, making a double change as Mane and Victor Wanyama replaced Dusan Tadic and Jordy Clasie - while Martin Skrtel came on in place of Lovren for the visitors.
Two of those substitutes were involved immediately, Skrtel conceding a penalty as he tugged down Pelle, with Mane stepping up only to see his tame spot-kick pushed out by Simon Mignolet.
Mane and Oriol Romeu both came close before the former made up for his earlier penalty miss by turning Sakho in the box and firing home in the 64th.
Pelle thrashed home his third goal in two games to bring the game level in the 83rd before setting Mane away to convert the winner three minutes later as Saints went seventh in the league.