The Soccer Desk

Saints Stun Reds At Anfield

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In a match that Southampton showed their skill and guile, the Reds were left limping with a makeshift back four to start the day. While the Reds were strong in the opening 10 minutes of the match, the Saints would prove to be too much to handle as they stunned Liverpool with a 1-0 win.

The Saints controlled the midfield battle closing down the Reds in the center of the pitch making it impossible for play to build with Gerrard and Lucas. Being able to settle in to the match, the visitors from the south coast made sure to put pressure on the league leaders and never seemed to look back. Putting the new-look back four of Sakho, Agger, Skrtel, and Torre under constant pressure and discomfort, Reds keeper Simon Mignolet had to be sharp.

The best chance for the Reds to take the lead occurred in the 21st minute when a free kick from about 27 yards out was taken by skipper Steven Gerrard that he ripped towards goal only to see Artur Boruc make a spectacular save. The Saints were on the march again with Pablo Osvaldo could not make good contact on the ball and his shot slides wide. Southampton captain Adam Lallana continued to provide the attack making Skrtel make quick defending decisions to keep his team in this.

Daniel Sturridge was denied a clear penalty in the 32nd minute when he was taken down inside the area by Saints defender Jose Fonte.  Liverpool would be ruing their missed chances as the halftime whistle blew sending the teams into the break still looking for the opening goal.

Reds boss Brendan Rogers wasted no time to make his first change of the match, with Iago Aspas making way for Raheem Sterling to start the second half. The Saints continued to apply the pressure early and often when Jay Rodriguez sent a strike at Mignolet that was easily collected. The game opened up in the 53rd minute, when Dejan Lorven scored his first Premier League goal off a corner. Despite Gerrard’s best efforts to clear the ball off the line, there was too much power on the shot to deny the Saints a deserved 1-0 lead.

The Reds tried to muster some sort of attack, but where undisciplined in their passing and play and could not find a way to test Boruc in the second half. As the match continued with the Saints owning more of the possession and pressure, it seemed that the Reds would suffer their first league defeat of the season. Mignolet came up huge in the 68th minute when the keeper made back-to-back-to-back stops on Luke Shaw preserving the one goal deficit. While finding the equalizer was on the mind of Sturridge, his effort in the 77th minute curled wide and over. What should have been the best opportunity of the second half for Liverpool was thwarted by a heavy touch from Sterling. After Sturridge found Sterling out wide, but the youngsters first touch was too heavy and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

Southampton were content to let the clock tick away and holding on to the 1-0 advantage. At the final whistle, the Saints walked away with three points in a dominant performance on Merseyside. The Reds’ unbeaten run comes to an end, and now they have to focus on their midweek Capital One Cup match up against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Photo courtesy of Liverpool FC