A resolute performance from Brendan Rodgers’ men resulted in three points and a move up two places in the Premiership to occupy second behind leaders Chelsea.
Many LFC supporters, myself included felt this was going to be a stern test of Liverpool’s Premiership credentials at a ground which was beginning to become something of a hoodoo for the men from Anfield. The recent poor defensive performances, coupled with a decent Southampton side, the outlook was not great for Rodgers’ side, and I, for one, was prepared to settle for a point. Perhaps a sign of expectations resulting from recent seasons.
The first half began as expected. Southampton taking the game to Liverpool hoping to take advantage of potential defensive lapses. The Reds’ back line however had other ideas and it was clear Liverpool were looking to play a distinct counter attacking game. True to current form, it had to be said that the visitors were pretty shaky in the opening 45 minutes. I think it’s even fair to say they were lucky to go into the break one goal to the good, let off by the impressive Adam Lallana being denied an equaliser by the woodwork. All told, LFC rode their luck and Phillipe Coutinho particularly ineffectual on the day.
Liverpool looked more assured in the second period and it’s clear some words of confidence were given to them in the half-time team talk by Rodgers. It was also clear Coutinho was not having the best of games, however, and he was substituted on 57 minutes for Raheem Sterling who surprisingly was left on the bench in favor of Joe Allen. Within a minute of coming on, the teenager had put the visitors further ahead, latching on to a Suarez cross after he dispossessed the complacent Southampton defence to race clear. Suarez was celebrating his 100th game for the club and what a 100 games he’s had!
From this point on, Liverpool grew in confidence and, as clichéd as it may sound, should have had a couple more goals as Daniel Sturridge and Suarez both went close. Jordan Henderson also blazed over from close range. By now, the home side looked completely bereft of ideas and the visiting back line stood firm, held their nerve and avoided the individual errors that have blighted their performances this last few games.
Despite a few forward forrays from Southampton, Rodgers’ men were in complete control. At times it wasn’t pretty but effective. Is this the performance of champions. Will they be? It’s too soon to say but they’ve put themselves in the mix and only deserve credit. The final nail in the home side’s coffin came in the final minute of injury time as Suarez was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Jose Fonte as he stormed into the opponents’ penalty box. Captain Steven Gerrard stepped up coolly to dispatch the resulting penalty to the goalkeepers left and put the score line abreast of the teams performance.
Liverpool can now look forward to what will be a tasty visit to the fallen Champions Manchester United in a couple of weeks, comfortable in the knowledge that they have absolutely nothing to fear. It’s true the defence is still not good enough and does need strengthening but there is no doubt the team has made huge strides this season. With a few additions in the right areas, notably left back – not taking anything away from Glen Johnson who had a good game today – centre back and a holding midfielder. Perhaps a quality attacker, then there’s no reason why the Reds can’t mount a serious challenge next season. That’s assuming they don’t lift the trophy this time.
Midway through the second half, chants of “There’s only one Brendan Rodgers” echoed around the St. Mary’s stadium and this was a deserving touch for the man who has dragged the team from perennial pretenders, finishing in seventh place last season to genuine contenders this time. Do we dare to dream? Well, as someone once said “It’s a funny old game” so who knows.
A special shout goes out to the Under 18 team who done Newcastle United’s Under 18 side 4-1 at the Academy ground earlier in the day. Two goals from Harry Wilson and one apiece from Will Marsh and Daniel Trickett-Smith completed the scoring. Dan Cleary at centre back looks like a star of the future. Watch this space.
Follow me on Twitter: @Mrbengreen
LIVE Uncensored Match Reaction Show. Liverpool blew the title race wide open tonight with a 0-3 win over Southampton at St. Mary’s with goals from Suarex, Sterling and Gerrard (PEN).
Joe Allen starts as Sterling starts on the bench against Southampton.
Starting XI : Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Sturridge, Suarez
Subs : Jones, Toure, Cissokho, Moses, Aspas, Sterling, Teixeira
Follow the game on @empireofthekop, our iPhone App or our Android App
Liverpool face Southampton this Saturday and it’ll see Liverpool half way through their revenge missions against teams that have beaten them this season. Southampton were the first team to beat Liverpool and the only one to do so at Anfield. For me, they’re the only side this season to give them a real headache, they played to all of Liverpool’s weaknesses and gave us no room for mistakes, unfortunately one piece of slack marking and a decent header from Dejan Lovren, who they’ll be without this weekend cost Liverpool the game and without Luis Suarez were unable to find a response.
The ghosts of Hull and Arsenal, and perhaps even Everton have already been put to bed in the league this season. 11 goals and only one against shows that Brendan Rodgers is making sure they if you fool Liverpool once shame on Rodgers, but attempt to fool Liverpool twice and it’s shame on you. Tactically Brendan has got it spot on in the return fixtures, in fact he’s only dropped points against Aston Villa and West Brom this season, one of which we did well to get any points from at all. Liverpool once again must show that they’ve learnt from their mistakes, anything less at this point in the season just won’t be good enough.
Southampton come into this game off the back of a defeat to West Ham United, 3-1 it was and Southampton by their own admission were poor. Since then though Roy Hodgson will have given belief to some regulars in their side, Lambert, Rodriguez, Lallana and left back Luke Shaw have played well enough since the last international to be recalled and in Shaw’s case receive his first call up to the senior side. Though we should not forget, Roy the boy didn’t only call on his new Southern quartet, Gerrard, Johnson and Sturridge will be joined by their inform team mates, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling this time round and with all 9 set to start this Saturday you’d expect all of them to be fighting for a place on the Brazil bound plane.
A lot of fans seem to be worried about this weekend and less so about the home fixtures against those around them. The fear factor Southampton pose is bred from the performance that had Anfield applauding them off the pitch in some sections. After the early season form that was up their with the best in the league Southampton as you’d expect have tailed off and while look set to finish in the top half, a European place doesn’t seem achievable at this stage. I think if Liverpool start as well as they have been doing and punish the Saints early on then they’ll be fine, if Liverpool find themselves unable to make the break through early however, then I wonder how much resolve we’ll show to keep our top four push rolling. It’s time to avenge Southampton.What do you think? Result predictions welcome in the comments section!
Liverpool travel down to St. Mary’s to face recent bogey side Southampton in the Premier League. Can the reds maintain their title challenging form? The Redmen TV bring you all the Uncensored Match Build Up…