Saints are still in search of their first point of the season after going down 2-1 to Liverpool at St Mary’s.

Former Saints star Sadio Mane struck in first half stoppage time before Roberto Firmino added another in the second period as the Champions League winners condemned Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men to a second successive defeat following the opening day loss at Burnley.

Danny Ings netted his first goal since December late on, but it wasn’t enough to get Saints anything from the game.

Saints were under the cosh at the start with Liverpool causing them plenty of problems running at their defence.

James Milner had the first shot on goal, but Angus Gunn was happy to see a deflection lift it up into his arms.

The St Mary’s crowd were desperate for something to give them hope and they were encouraged by the workrate of James Ward-Prowse as he closed down a backpass to Adrian. The Liverpool keeper hit his clearance against the Saints man and was relieved to see it go behind.

Che Adams, who was chief problem maker in the first half, was almost in behind moments later from Nathan Redmond’s chipped ball forward but the striker was nudged off balance and Adrian was able to clear it up.

With Liverpool down to ten men with James Milner heading to the dressing room for treatment on a head injury, the £15m summer signing flashed a shot from a corner across the area where it took a deflection off of Maya Yoshida and went behind.

Yoshida came even closer on 21 minutes as he met an inswinging Ward-Prowse corner in the middle of the six-yard box, but his header was straight down the middle and saved by Adrian.

Being down to ten men for a period unsettled Liverpool. They had looked free flowing but were suddenly nervy and on the back foot, allowing Saints a way into the game.

Milner’s return to the pitch stopped the Saints flow but the rhythm of the game had been disrupted to the home team’s advantage and they were, to their credit, competing much better.

There were still danger signs such as Mo Salah getting round the outside of Yoshida and slashing a shot wide, but they were increasingly rare.

Saints had a great chance to take the lead on 38 minutes as Adams was found by a terrific right wing cross from Oriol Romeu but he put his free header from eight yards out over the bar.

But having done so well for 45 minutes Saints suffered a hammer blow as Liverpool took the lead in first half stoppage time.

It was a great finish, but Saints allowed Liverpool too much time on the ball from a left wing throw-in deep in their half.

A few simple passes worked it to Sadio Mane who cut inside onto his right foot. Jan Bednarek didn’t close down and Mane curled a shot into the far corner from just inside the area past the diving Angus Gunn.

Saints had a mountain to climb in the second half, not only to recover from conceding at a very inopportune moment but to find a way through the Reds and back into the match.

Liverpool started fast again, knowing that if they scored the next goal then it would surely be game over.

Milner came agonisingly close to delivering just that with a half volley from 20 yards out that took a slight deflection and went narrowly wide.

Gunn came to the rescue on 56 minutes as Mane played Salah in behind. The Liverpool man opened up his body for a left footed finish across goal but didn’t catch it perfectly and the keeper saved with his legs.

It was all Liverpool and after Milner missed the target Hasenhuttl made a change with Danny Ings replacing Romeu as Saints switched to a 5-2-3 formation with Adams the focal point of the attack and Redmond and Ings off of him.

Yet another Liverpool attack almost culminated in a goal as Mane got away down the right and squared to Roberto Firmino. He shot first time as the ball went across his body but put it wide.

Ings produced his moment of note after coming on as his shot from 20 yards went only just over the bar before Stuart Armstrong replaced Adams in what was now a 5-1-2-2 formation.

But the ray of hope delivered by Ings was quickly sunbed out as Liverpool made it 2-0 on 71 minutes.

Saints were the masters of their own downfall again as they tried to pass the ball deep in their own half and a slack touch from Bednarek gave Liverpool a chance to steal it on the left wing and feed Firmino.

He cut across the box and with Jannik Vestergaard unable to get to him hit a low right footed shot into the bottom corner that beat Gunn diving to his right.

Gunn had to be on his guard to keep the score down four minutes later as Mane tested him at his near post with a header from a free kick.

He produced another top save to keep out a fierce Andrew Robertson half volley before Moussa Djenepo was given a home debut in place of Ryan Bertrand.

Adrian had to keep out a clearance from his own defender, Joel Matip, before he gave Saints hope with seven minutes remaining.

It was howler from the Liverpool keeper who was under little pressure with the ball at his feet but he hit his attempted clearance straight into the legs of Ings, who was a good few yards away, and watched in horror as it ricocheted into the net.

Ings should have levelled things up just two minutes later as Yan Valery’s brilliant low ball in from the right found five yards out but the striker barely made any connection and what proved to be their final chance went begging.