Dire Defending In Southampton Loss
Liverpool fell to a 3-1 defeat at St Mary's on Saturday afternoon and there's no hiding from the fact that sloppy defending and an all round poor performance led the Reds to their fate. Southampton were perhaps underestimated in the run up to this fixture but with Liverpool on such good form it wasn't hard to expect another 3 points, Southampton though were dominant and took full advantage of their ease in breaking through the Liverpool defence.
The Saints first goal came very early into the game, just after the 5 minute mark Liverpool found themselves trailing after a Schneiderlin goal from close range. It was an unexpected start for Brendan's side but with so long left to go nobody was panicking yet.
The first goal though highlighted a similar story for the rest of the game. The newly returned Martin Skrtel would play a part in a rather sloppy defence, don't get me wrong, I'm a Skrtel fan but it annoys me when people are quick to slate his counterpart Jamie Carragher just because he's burning a few more candles, in my eyes Carragher has proved he's still got what it takes and going on Skrtel's performance on Saturday afternoon, the number 23 will probably be back in the starting XI after the break.
Another talking point was the starting of Joe Allen over Lucas Leiva. A decision apparently made because Lucas picked up a niggle left fans wondering whether that was the real reason because we all know full well Allen himself is awaiting a shoulder operation. Either way, despite Allen's less than effective performance he wasn't as big a scapegoat as some people would have you believe, nevertheless for me, Lucas is always the preferred option.
Southampton found their second just after the half hour mark and it's safe to say Liverpool had offered little trouble in return. This time a goal from Liverpool fan and Southampton fan favourite Ricky Lambert to the bottom right of goal meant his side had extended their lead leaving the visitors with a lot of work to do.
Daniel Sturridge had a few half chances in the first 45 minutes but it was fair to say that himself and the influential Luis Suarez were a lot quieter than usual. It fell to Phillipe Coutinho to put Liverpool back into the game.
An original effort from Sturridge didn't find its way to the back of the net but the rebound fell kindly to an awaiting Coutinho who confidently scored Liverpool's first and only goal of the afternoon. It was a good time to score but Liverpool would need to ensure their defending in the second half was ten times better if they were going to get anything from this game.
The second half saw manager Brendan Rodgers make an immediate substitution replacing Joe Allen with Lucas Leiva. The defensive nature of Lucas should aid the Reds ability to block out the Southampton attack and whilst it helped it didn't quite complete the full equation.
A free kick from Suarez after the hour mark saved by Boruc meant Southampton were still safely holding on to a well earned 3 points. Liverpool had been stronger pushing forward in the second half but it wasn't good enough.
With 10 minutes left to go Southampton found themselves a third goal and this was probably the most embarrassing of the lot. You'd think after the first two goals our defence would have at least been on a higher alert but apparently not. Skrtel looked as though he was scared to even make a challenge and quite frankly it was frightening how easy it was for Rodriguez to get through. His goal from inside the area sealed the win for the home side and Liverpool would now have a lot of reflecting to do on that last 90 minutes.
It always amazes me how we can go from such a well oiled performance to a terribly shoddy one. It's clear consistency still isn't our forte and until we find a bit of repetition we won't be challenging to get back into the real part of Europe.
This game is definitely one to forget and perhaps the two week break has come at a good time for Liverpool next up for the Reds is Aston Villa away, another game you would think before kick off would be a 3 pointer for the Reds but with Villa in a buoyant mood after this weeks result and them needing all the hope they can get, who knows what might happen.