Rodgers' "Subdued" Liverpool Lose To Impressive Saints

It was a match Liverpool fans will want to forget on Saturday afternoon as the Reds fell to a Southampton side that very much deserved their 1-0 win. Brendan Rodgers bizarrely made the decision to start four centre backs but despite this Liverpool still managed to concede from a set piece. It was a poor performance all round from Liverpool and many disagreed with the starting line up.

Gerrard looking miffed...
Interestingly the last team to beat Liverpool before they went on their run was the Saints and Pochettino certainly set his side up to apply real pressure on the Reds. Southampton worked very well as a unit and on too many occasions were allowed through in to dangerous positions by Liverpool.

Liverpool looked very uninspired from the off and had a very disappointing first half performance. Without the likes of Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique it was clear the Reds had drastically decreased their supply line. There's often many a fan on line who will criticise the likes of Johnson and Enrique to the hilt when they are playing but it was very interesting to see how many were calling for them back yesterday. Especially the likes of Glen Johnson who was sorely missed. With Sakho and Toure acting as full backs there was no real movement forward at all, this also created another problem that concerned Simon Mignolet.

The amount of times in yesterday's game that Mignolet was fed a pass back under serious pressure was ridiculous. Mignolet came under criticism also for his poor distribution but I feel that he wasn't the one to blame, if Johnson and Enrique were in that starting XI, the ball would have been brought forward and into play, not constantly given back to the goalkeeper because essentially Toure and Sakho didn't know what to do for the best. For me, without Mignolet our scoreline could have been a lot more detrimental and his three saves in a row alone more than made up for his perhaps shoddy distributing display. The stats show that Mignolet made 34 passes against Southampton, only finding a player on 17 occasions.

In the first half Liverpool had no real highlight aside from a Steven Gerrard free kick just after 20 minutes that was parried away by Boruc. The most important moment for Liverpool of the whole game also came in the first half after Daniel Sturridge was challenged in the box by Southampton's would be goalscorer Lovren.

It was a penalty I thought and many seemed to agree, yes it may have changed the game but I hate relying on these sort of decisions and the fact is, if Liverpool continued to play as they were even after converting a penalty, Southampton would have found the back of the net, I don't feel we had enough in our game to really take all 3 points, maybe if we had the peno we could have seen out a draw but this is all guess work anyway. Fact is we weren't given the decision and we still had plenty of time with the game at 0-0 to do something about it.

But we didn't.

The second half saw Iago Aspas replaced with Raheem Sterling. Aspas was rather ineffective and to be honest I think Raheem Sterling deserved to start this game, he may have been a bit wasteful with his introduction but Sterling was involved in some of the most promising moments of the game for the Reds and these moments were few and far between.

Another player that was sorely missed for the Reds yesterday was Phillipe Coutinho, post match he ended up being the top trending topic on Twitter in the UK which says it all really. Liverpool desperately missed his creativity and with no full backs either there was literally nothing coming down the flanks. Thank god Suarez returns on Wednesday!

Southampton continued to pressure Liverpool in the second half and their chance came not long before the hour mark via the Bosnian born Dejan Lovren. Lovren rose well to beat a desperate looking Daniel Agger and head the ball home. Liverpool looked dumbstruck and so they should have, it wasn't like the hadn't received the warning signs and now Southampton were very much in control of the game.

Enrique was brought onto the field after the Southampton goal replacing Daniel Agger but it was probably too little to late from a now disgruntled Rodgers.

Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool had the hopes of Anfield on his shoulders but even he couldn't find the back of the net on Saturday. The Reds only had 5 shots in the game 4 of which came from outside the area and it was clear that we weren't going to score like that. A late run from Raheem Sterling towards the box created hope for Liverpool fans but the youngster's first touch was poor and that was that for Liverpool.

A lot of people who are much more intelligent than me predicted that this could be a banana skin for Liverpool, perhaps the pessimist was getting the better of them but they were bang on. I was very positive in the match preview stating that I could only see Southampton taking something from the game if they scored first and shut up shop, half of that may have been right but full credit to the Saints they had no intentions of playing it safe at Anfield and were very deserving of all 3 points.

For Liverpool it's not quite all doom and gloom yet, obviously this result isn't an acceptable one, especially after the way we played but the Reds are still on 10 points and are well and truly stuck in the action, with Man City to play United later today too it may not end all to bad this weekend for the Reds. They also face Sunderland next in the league who are on a sinking ship with captain Di Canio at the moment so here's hoping Liverpool can return to winning ways sooner rather than later.

First up though the Reds have the small matter of Manchester United in the league cup on Wednesday. Stay tuned to The Liver Bird for a match preview on Tuesday afternoon!


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