Liverpool leapfrog Man City after two CONTROVERSIAL moments in crucial Southampton win

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A goal down inside the first ten minutes, nerves would have been jangling in Merseyside.

Shane Long was left in plenty of space after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had flicked on Ryan Bertrand’s cross with Virgil van Dijk, who has been so imperious all season, left in no man’s land.

But this Liverpool side is not one of the past. It isn’t a Reds outfit that folds easily.

Friday night in Southampton would have had Manchester City fans cowering and Liverpool supporters making the journey home with huge smiles.

But it wasn’t simple, and nor was it free of any controversy.

Naby Keita bagged his first Liverpool goal ten minutes before the break, but should it have stood?

Mohamed Salah appeared to be offside in the buildup, though the Saints defence had plenty of opportunities to clear the ball.

Indeed, even with VAR next season, the goal would have stood with Sky Sports presenter Kelly Cates saying: “There is an offside in the buildup to this goal but the VAR centre have told us that when VAR is introduced next season this isn’t a goal that would be disallowed because the Southampton defence has a couple of opportunities to reset.”

Southampton held firm for the rest of the first half and deep into the second, though they were arguably fortunate not to give away a penalty.

Keita appeared to be tripped by Mayo Yoshida, though the midfielder was perhaps already on his way down.

A Liverpool team of old may have wilted with this decision going against them, but not the Class of 2018/19.

The visitors kept piling the pressure on, though Southampton weren’t sitting back.

And that proved their downfall with Salah breaking on the counter-attack. The Egyptian sprinting with the ball from inside his own half before a brilliant finish sent a corner of St Mary’s into raptures.

That was with just ten minutes to go and when Jordan Henderson sealed the result moments later, the captain’s roar said it all.

The celebrations that followed at the final whistle showed just what this means for Liverpool. After all, it has been 29 years since a league title.

“The season is intense for everyone,” Klopp said.

“You have an opportunity to make really good changes – Milner and Henderson helped. They were aggressive in a really important way. You could see them pushing the boys.

“Southampton had to suffer in the second half because of the first-half tempo. Difficult away game, 3-1 is a perfect result.

“What a goal [from Salah]. He couldn’t pass because Firmino couldn’t get into the right position. The defender could not concentrate on Mo. Wow, what a goal. A good moment.

“Naby Keita’s first goal for the club in a crucial moment.”

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