Liverpool 1 – 0 Southampton
1-0 Agger (43)
A win and that’s the most important thing. We also, as we did on Wednesday, played some good stuff but, sadly; the result didn’t reflect it.
At a naturals glance I guess it might look as if we shaded this one. However hitting the woodwork twice, plus numerous other efforts, underlined our dominance but also, for the umpteenth time, our inability to make this tell. For once however we weren’t in a position where we dredging up excuses, were we bemoaning our bad luck, our dominance and the lack of anything to take from the game. It is heartening that although we couldn’t make the game safe and were therefore always on the cusp of calamity the defence held out. One goal was enough and giving us a good bounce back from Wednesday’s defeat.
BR made the changes that many were debating before the game. Lucas, back from injury, was restored to midfield along with Shelvey, Henderson and Downing made way. Lucas’ inclusion presumably meant that Steven Gerrard had more licence to move up the pitch and it seemed so with went he was unlucky not to score from a corner that eventually saw his shot cleared off the line by Schneiderlin. He then set up Shelvey whose rumbustious shot thudded against the post.
Before this Suarez announced himself on the scene with a shot that was easily saved by Gazzaniga in the Southampton goal. However perhaps the most significant thing about this particular move was that Suarez had his shorts pulled by Cork and again nothing was given. I wonder if there is a case for compiling a DVD compilation of all the incidents that have gone against us since the Evra incident, particularly those involving Suarez, and sending it into the appropriate authorities and asking for their comments. Is it worth it? Perhaps they will say, like the referees, they didn’t see it!
On the balance of all this our goal, just before the break, was deserved. Suarez crashed a free kick against the cross bar and as the crowd were ruing our back luck Johnson collected the ball on the right, shuffled around a bit before crossing to Agger, just in front of the penalty spot, the Dane’s header beat Gazzaniga and found his top left hand corner. A deserved half time lead Southampton, save a couple of long range efforts from Lambert had offered very little in the way of response.
In the second half we continued to press but couldn’t get the vital second that would probably close the game down and provide assurance and comfort to everyone, in the stands and on the pitch. Enrique continued his good form with a great run that went past the Southampton defenders as if they were pillars of salt however his finish was thwarted by a defenders toe. Suarez eventually did the find the net from Gerarrd’s cross however it was his momentum that took him into the net rather than any kind of decisive finish. In doing so he handled the ball, the resulting yellow card means he will be banned for one game. It was coming.
After the game BR with, for once, refreshing candour that was straight to the point…
“The game should have been put to bed well before it was. No matter how much you dominate the game, if it’s still only 1-0 going into the final 10 minutes it can always offer you a bit of a challenge where you have to defend. There’s no question we should have been out of sight, but the most important thing is it was a terrific performance and another win at Anfield. We continue with another three points and moving up the league.”
At the end of the day I guess that is all you want?
Finally a note about the pre match minutes applause for Stephen Packer, one of our under nines players, who passed away after losing his fight with cancer. This disease shows no mercy however it is particularly harsh and mean spirited when it chooses to pick on someone so young. As parent of one kid under nine, and another just over that age, my sympathy goes out to Stephen’s family and friends,
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Lucas (Carragher – 88′ Booked ), Allen (Henderson – 69′ ), Sterling, Shelvey, Suarez Booked Substitutes: Jones, Carragher, Wisdom, Sahin, Henderson, Downing, Suso
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Ramirez, Cork (S Davis – 70′), Lallana, Puncheon (Rodriguez – 78′ ), Lambert Substitutes: Davis, Hooiveld, Reeves, S Davis, Ward-Prowse, Rodriguez, Mayuka