|It was brilliant to see Lucas back!...|
Starting for Liverpool was Lucas Leiva, a real staple for the side in most people's eyes he retained his old position in the centre of midfield allowing Steven Gerrard a lot more freedom. Up front for Liverpool was Suarez as always whilst Southampton had the rather dangerous Rickie Lambert leading their attack.
Liverpool began the game with a real tempo and applied great pressure on the Southampton defence. Chances from Shelvey and Suarez were thick and fast and the supply from the likes of Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique on the flanks was plentiful. With Steven Gerrard entitled to move around a lot more too it was clear more direct balls were going through. Liverpool have played the passing game a lot this season but it's refreshing for me to see a cut through ball straight into the box every now and then and Gerrard can certainly provide that.
Liverpool saw two of their chances come back off the woodwork late in the second half as a Jonjo Shelvey shot smashed off the post it was followed by a Suarez free kick that crashed off the bar. Luckily for Liverpool the deflection fell to Glen Johnson who had plenty of red men left in the area to play the ball to. A nice cross in allowed Agger to finish with a lovely header leaving the Southampton defence dumbstruck. The Reds were ahead and deservedly so.
For the second half Southampton must have made the most of their half time break as they appeared more confident now. Chances mainly via Gaston Ramirez gave Liverpool something to deal with but Pepe Reina pretty much had everything covered.
Jordan Henderson was brought on just before the 70 minute mark for Liverpool replacing Joe Allen. Many fans were intrigued as to how the system would work with both Allen and Lucas in the midfield but I feel it went pretty well. Allen was forced into a more attacking role which is good because although Joe is effective in his role he does tend to pass sideways quite a lot and as mentioned before with a more direct approach Liverpool on the whole were looking more dangerous.
At 80 minutes something happened that kopites have perhaps been expecting for a long while. Luis Suarez picked up his 5th yellow card of the league season meaning he would miss the next match. I dread to even think what we're going to do against West Ham without him but at least this game against Southampton had more positives than usual.
The Reds still troubled keeper Gazzaniga a few more times late on in the second half via Jose Enrique and Luis Suarez but they couldn't double their lead. Lucas left the field of play for Jamie Carragher late on too but the score remained the same until the end of the 90 minutes.
A win is a win and despite the fact the goal tally perhaps should have been higher I was happy with that performance. For me the passing was a lot more purposeful and it proved that you can retain stacks of possession but still attack consistently and vitally find a goal that gets you all three points, for me, it was a big improvement and part of that fell down to the reintroduction of Lucas and the knock on effect he has.
Today the Reds drew Lincoln/Mansfield in the FA Cup which is a very nice draw for Brendan but next up is Udinese away.