Match report: Southampton 0 Liverpool 3
Liverpool’s 0-3 win means that they are now up to second in the Barclays Premier League table on goal difference, four points behind table-toppers Chelsea.
Luis Suarez ended his mini-drought as he scored after 16 minutes: his 1st goal in 6 games and that’s means that he has now scored against every team in the current Premier League. The perfect way to mark his 100th Premier League appearance for the Reds.
Southampton’s response came after Liverpool’s first goal as the Reds started to play sloppy, players like Coutinho and Henderson often lost the ball, which caused a lot of problems for Brendan Rodgers’s men. Lallana’s shot hit the post, and Mignolet kept Liverpool’s lead intact after Rodriquez steered a neat effort towards goal from close range.
The start of the second half saw little change in the balance of play, with the Reds pressed back and continually gifting possession to their hosts. Again Lallana – who played a good match – struck a weak shot at Mignolet, while on several occasion the visitors were fortunate a Saints player either chose the wrong final ball or failed to deliver one altogether.
As a result of that Rodgers decided to make a substitution after 57 minutes. Raheem Sterling replaced the poor playing Coutinho. Sterling made an immediate impact as he scored the 0-2, he tapped home at the far post. Suarez gave the assist, which means that El Pistolero has assisted five of Sterling’s six PL goals this season. On top of that Sterling becomes the 7th youngest player to make 50 Premier League appearances and he also marked this milestone with a goal, an important one.
After scoring in 8 straight PL matches, Daniel Sturridge’s run came to an end as he made way for Iago Aspas. Liverpool controlled the game after the 0-2 and tried to make a third but Suarez outside-of-the-boot effort ended wide and minutes before Gerrard’s long-range drive was turned behind by Boruc.
While the additional time came to an end, Suarez earned a penalty as he was brought down in the box by Fonte. Gerrard sent the penalty high into the roof of the net: 0-3. It was the last touch of the game, a fantastic result for the Reds and I think that it is fair enough to say that we really make a chance this season to finish first. The Kop is starting to believe it, so all I can say is: ‘fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride’.
Written by @LFC_blogger (Twitter)
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).
Liverpool took another big step towards Champions League qualification with an important win on the South Coast. Goals from Suarez, Sterling and Gerrard secured all three points in a fixture that had proved difficult for the Reds in recent times.
Liverpool made one change before the match, bringing Joe Allen, who made an impressive cameo against Swansea last week, into the starting eleven in place of Raheem Sterling. Southampton also made just one change, replacing Maya Yoshida with Dejan Lovren; his first start since he suffered an injury against Sunderland back in January. The Croat scored the winner at Anfield when the two sides met in September, which remains the only home loss Liverpool have suffered this season. Liverpool were searching for their first win since 2012 against Southampton, and their first St Mary’s victory in 11 years.
Both teams struggled to settle into their rhythm early on, and were guilty of misplacing easy passes. Liverpool wasted a flurry of corners early on, while Skrtel was forced to clear some dangerous balls from the Southampton midfield. Lallana in particular caused the Reds a lot of problems, as he found a way past Flanagan on several occasions, and used the vast amounts of space that was left between the midfield and defence. However it was Liverpool who took the lead, after Sturridge’s pass to Suarez wasn’t dealt with by the Southampton defence. Fonte’s touch on the ball was poor, and Suarez seized on this to score his 24th of the season, confidently placing his shot in the bottom right hand corner of Boruc’s goal.
If anything, the goal spurred Southampton on, and the home team were by far the dominant team for the rest of the half. Liverpool weren’t playing with their usual fluidity, Coutinho in particular was guilty of misplacing several passes. The midfield three of Gerrard, Allen and Henderson struggled to win the ball back, and Flanagan found it hard to deal with the pace of Shaw throughout the first half. Lambert blasting a shot over from just inside the penalty area was the start of a continuing flurry of Southampton chances. Mignolet had to be alert to punch a corner away from Lambert, and Lallana hit the post shortly after, following a decent knockdown from Lambert. A missed Flanagan interception almost proved costly, as Shaw used his pace to get in the advanced position to put a decent cross in. However Lallana didn’t have time to control the ball, and his first time shot went wide of the left hand side of the post. Lallana, Lambert and Rodriguez continued to link up brilliantly, without producing an end result. On this occasion, Lallana’s backheel was picked up by Lambert, and fed through to Rodriguez, who failed to get a shot on goal. Liverpool enjoyed a brief break from the sustained pressure, and Suarez almost made it 2-0, with a first time half volley from a Sturridge cross. Boruc did well to save the powerful shot down low, and prevent Suarez from grabbing a second of the game. Schneiderlin came close to an equaliser, controlling the ball in the box, but shooting over with his volleyed effort. Mignolet was forced into a great save towards the end of the half, after Shaw’s cross found Rodriguez in the middle. The Belgian managed to parry the strong effort and grab hold of the ball at the second opportunity. The half time whistle will have come as a relief to Rodgers, who was lucky to be ahead after a tough 45 minutes.
The introduction of Gaston Ramirez at the start of the second half brought about even more attacking prowess for the Saints, putting a few decent crosses in and dancing his way through the Liverpool midfield. Skrtel produced one of his best performances of the season, dealing with most of the crosses into the box and blocking many of the shots the home team managed. The turning point of the game came from the bench. Coutinho was hauled off by Rodgers for Sterling, who was surprisingly left out of the starting eleven. It took the England winger one touch to make a major impact, finishing calmly down the middle of a goal from a Suarez pass. The goal relieved a lot of the tension for Liverpool, and Suarez might have made it 3-0, were it not for his selflessness. Rather than shooting first time, Suarez opted to play Sturridge in, only for the ball to fall in an uncomfortable position. The shot did come for Henderson, but his left footed shot went well over the bar, summarising the performance of the midfielder. Gerrard almost scored from outside the box, however Boruc was alert to tip the powerful shot away for a corner. The last ten minutes were a procession for Liverpool, who knew that their fourth straight win allowed them to leapfrog Arsenal and Manchester City into second place. There was time for one final opportunity, when Suarez was fouled inside the box. Gerrard stepped up, and as with all his other five penalties this season, he scored, securing a slightly flattering 3-0 victory.
Liverpool’s unbeaten start to 2014 in the league continued, but with crucial games against United, City and Chelsea coming up, Rodgers knows that wins like this are crucial if they want to play in the top level of European competition next year, or even challenge for the title.
I thought I’d write a follow up to ‘Avenging Southampton’ – something I wrote yesterday.
We as fans are rarely impressed by an opposition, we tend to fault our own before we give credit to those that find a way to beat us. Southampton were that team, for this season anyway. Their display at Anfield had fans tense, nervous, worried that they could scupper whatever plan Rodgers had for this Liverpool side at a time when Liverpool’s position to capitalize on mistakes by others was once again at it’s most paramount of importance.
It started nervy, Southampton looking extremely comfortable in their own skin and Liverpool looking like they were to be in for a long afternoon. Midfielder runners were causing Liverpool to look out of shape in defensive areas, but all afternoon it turned out that Liverpool were able to soak up whatever came at them, something that will stand them in good stead for the run in.
Liverpool were looking scary on the counter and as the ball fell to the feet of Luis Suarez a familiar feeling returned as he swept it first time past a helpless Boruc. If that wasn’t a sign that Liverpool had a good chance of winning this game then a save from Simon Mignolet in the second half from close range was. The reflexes are exactly what we bought him for, stepping up in those vital moments to produce game turning events. It was though the movement of Suarez that continued to give the Southampton defense countless headaches and problems, a ball from Stevie and a pull back for the fresh legged Raheem saw Liverpool take a comfortable two goal lead.
A special mention to Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson for their relentless work rates, up and down all game and although the passing was sloppy in the first half at times their closing down along with Coutinho was invaluable. Raheem Sterling replaced Coutinho who seemed to be tiring when Rodgers made the change, Sterling prevented Jack Cork and Morgan Schneiderlin the control they had before and allowed Liverpool to kill the game from that point onwards.
Gerrard’s positioning, leadership and distribution from deep was great, time and time again you saw him rally his younger soliders ahead of him and give confidence to those who had his back. Another mazy Suarez run gave Gerrard the chance to seal it from the spot and did he, a man with the confidence of Gerrard was only ever going to stick it as much in the top right hand corner as it possible.
Brendan Rodgers had got it spot on, once again learning from a previous encounter and executing the game plan to perfection, the travelling Kop were quick to let him know of their delight.
At one point Simon Mignolet came for a cross and connected, it was really a day when Liverpool once again avenged a previous foe this season.
Just what can this Liverpool side achieve? Tweet me @DoctorBenjy or let me know in the comments!
Ben Carr @DoctorBenjy
Thanks to @MostarLFC for submitting the video below.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring after 16 minutes.
LS by LFCmostar
Raheem Sterling made it 2-0 after coming on.
RS by LFCmostar
And in the dying seconds Gerrard converts a penalty to make it 3-0.
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
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