At the final whistle, Jürgen Klopp gracefully doffed his cap to the pocket of Liverpool supporters singing his name but this was not a masterclass by any stretch of the imagination. At the end of a long week of air miles and freak injuries, they mustered the energy to squeak over the line, with Adrián’s calamitous error ultimately only a footnote. The keeper gave a spirited Southampton a lifeline after Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino earned a healthy two-goal cushion. Just as a tricky afternoon on little sleep and minimal preparation seemed to have turned into a breeze, Adrián’s clearance from a nonchalant back pass by Virgil van Dijk cannoned off Danny Ings’s shin and into the back of the net.
It was a mistake fit for an end-of-season blooper reel and it had shades of Alisson’s error against Leicester City last September, another game which threatened to run away from Liverpool. It has not been a dull week for Liverpool or Adrián, who was left with an ankle “swollen like an elephant’s”, as Klopp put it, after a pitch invader ran on to join the Super Cup celebrations in Istanbul on Wednesday. Liverpool did not arrive home until 4.30am on Thursday, with the Spaniard receiving treatment on the flight home before the squad reported for their sole training session ahead of this match six and a half hours later. On Friday they boarded another flight, this time to Southampton. The travelling appeared to take its toll here, particularly in the first half, and Liverpool’s sloppiness was encapsulated by Adrián’s slip-up seven minutes from time. Nonetheless, the result was enough to take Liverpool top, after VAR denied Manchester City against Spurs.