Liverpool beat Southampton to secure an 11th successive top-flight victory and equal their best-ever Premier League winning run – despite a late blunder by goalkeeper Adrian.
With the European champions leading 2-0, Liverpool’s number two keeper – starting in place of the injured Alisson – cleared the ball against the shin of substitute Danny Ings to gift the Saints striker a goal against his former club.
Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead at the end of the first-half with a delicious arrowed finish from the edge of the penalty area after Saints had gone close on three occasions.
Adrian, who was passed fit to play after an ankle injury in a collision with a pitch invader following Liverpool’s Uefa Super Cup win over Chelsea in midweek, had kept out Maya Yoshida’s header while Che Adams then spurned two chances to equalise.
Roberto Firmino doubled Liverpool’s advantage with a clever finish and that proved to be crucial given Adrian’s mistake in the closing stages.
Adrian’s error could have been even more costly for the Reds because in a dramatic finale Ings wasted a great chance to equalise inside the six-yard area.
Mixed afternoon for Adrian
With Alisson ruled out “for the next few weeks” with a calf injury he picked up in the season-opening win against Norwich City, new signing Adrian has found himself immediately thrust into the first team.
On Wednesday, the Spaniard kept out Tammy Abraham’s penalty to secure victory over Chelsea in the Super Cup.
But against Southampton, his glaring error put the recent recruit into the spotlight for the wrong reasons – and it was not Adrian’s first mistake of the afternoon.
With the game goalless, his attempted clearance following Virgil van Dijk’s backpass struck James Ward-Prowse but fortunately spun out of play.
On the plus side, Adrian then reacted smartly to make one of the saves of the game as he kept out Yoshida’s close-range header.
Alisson’s presence – alongside that of van Dijk – brought a calmness to the Liverpool defence last season and since the Brazil keeper’s injury, Jurgen Klopp’s side have looked vulnerable at the back.
Norwich scored at Anfield, Chelsea got two in the Super Cup – and could have had more – while on numerous occasions there was alarm in the Reds’ defence against Southampton, who were wasteful in punishing the visitors.