There were perhaps concerns amongst the Southampton faithful when Oriol Romeu was not named in the matchday squad to face Liverpool on Monday evening but Ibrahima Diallo stepped up to the plate superbly.
However, he was superb throughout the game, helping the Saints record a superb 1-0 victory against Jurgen Klopp’s table-toppers.
As per SofaScore, the French midfielder earned a 6.6 rating for his display but looked assured on the ball throughout the 90 minutes, as he completed 30/38 of his attempted passes.
Diallo would lose possession on just 12 occasions, despite Liverpool’s high intensity pressing in the second half, whilst he was able to win six of the 11 duels he was involved in.
Liverpool opted to start Spanish midfielder Thiago for just the second time in the Premier League but he was far from his best against the Saints, with Diallo getting the better of him on a number of occasions, which led one Saints fan to suggest that the Frenchman made the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona man look “bang average”.
It could certainly be argued that Hasenhuttl is low on central-midfield options, with Diallo and young Will Smallbone the only senior back-ups to his usual midfield duo, so it was essential that the Frenchman put in a good performance in Romeu’s absence, and he did exactly that.
Therefore, the performance of Diallo, who earns £55k per week at Southampton, will certainly give Hasenhuttl a selection headache when Romeu returns to fitness, as the Spanish midfielder’s partnership with James Ward-Prowse in midfield has been a big part of the Saints’ success so far this season.
The Austrian confirmed in his post-match interview that the former Chelsea man missed out with a calf injury, with him hoping to have the defensive-midfielder back for the game against Leicester later this month, so it certainly seems a possibility that Diallo could start the Saints’ next fixture, which sees them take on League One Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup this weekend.
And, in other news… Southampton star who won 11 duels was Hasenhuttl’s best performer against LFC