Liverpool 1-0 Southampton Match Report
Liverpool returned to Anfield looking for back to back home league wins for the first time since September 2011. Liverpool’s 8 match unbeaten run came to an end at London against Spurs on Wednesday night, so a return to winnings ways was of paramount importance as Liverpool have struggled to win games at Anfield this calendar year. Southampton have won their last two matches prior to the trip to Anfield, so Liverpool would be facing a team full of confidence.
Liverpool’s big team news was the return of Lucas who has been missing from the line-up for 3 months due to a thigh injury. The Brazilian’s return would release Allen and Gerrard to push higher up the park. Downing was dropped to the bench, and Jonjo Shelvey returned to the team to add more of an attacking threat.
Liverpool started brightly and dominated the early play and Shelvey bobbled an early effort straight at goalkeeper Gazzaniga. Then Johnson flicked a Suarez pass across the face of goal, before Gerrard had a shot charged down and fired wide from a quickly taken free-kick.
Gazzaniga then denied both Shelvey and Suarez, who made justifiable claims he had been pulled back by Jack Cork, before the Uruguayan international latched onto Reina’s long kick and beat the goalkeeper only for Yoshida to clear for a corner.
2 minutes before half-time Suarez won a free-kick at the edge of the penalty area after being flattened by Ramirez. Suarez crashed the resulting kick of the bar, which fell to Johnson who crossed into the penalty box for Agger to head into the top corner from 10 yards out.
Southampton came out with a different attitude for the second half as Liverpool struggled to maintain their first half dominance.
Liverpool’s first real effort in the second half was midway through it, when the marauding Enrique linked up with Suarez before poking watching his poked effort deflect wide by Shaw.
Enrique also had a drilled half-volley batted away by Gazzaniga, With Liverpool becoming increasingly desperate to score a second Luis Suarez tried to punch Gerrard’s cross, resulting in the striker being booked, which will rule him out of next week’s trip to West Ham.
Suarez flashed a shot wide in added time, but Agger’s goal proved to be the difference.
Great to see Lucas back in the team and made a big difference protecting the defence and freeing Gerrard and Allen, I was also pleased to see Enrique back at left back in place of Downing and Shelvey back in the team as he gives more in the attacking third. Great goal by Agger and good dominance of the game, but once again struggling to put teams away and things won’t change until January where we have to add support for Suarez.