Liverpool start league season with victory over Southampton

Premier League
Sunday 17 August 2014 - 1:30 pm
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⚽️ Sterling23'
⚽️ Sturridge78'
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It was far from pretty but the reds scored late to ensure the season started with all 3 points.

Brendan Rodgers handed official debuts to Dejan Lovren and to loanee Javi Manquillo at right back.  Similarly as against Dortmund in the pre-season friendly this meant Glen Johnson switching to left back.

LFC 2-1 Southampton, Anfield, August 2014

With the arrival of Alberto Moreno it isn't quite clear how long Glen is likely to keep this position.

Lucas Leiva was, somewhat surprisingly, given the nod to start alongside Gerrard.

Liverpool were fairly neat without being spectacular in the first half.  Substantial periods of possession were enjoyed - with what is essentially a back four at times - Gerrard, Lucas, Lovren and Skrtel - seemingly content on knocking it around.

After an 'almost slip' by Gerrard, the Saints fans begun to berate the former England captain.  Liverpool fans sang about his '40 yard passes' and within a split second Jordan Henderson sent a glorious forward pass to Raheem Sterling who coolly placed the ball in the Kop net.

Sterling's early arrival in the Liverpool first team was marred by fluffed chances similar to this - the fact he now dispatches them with aplomb only serves to highlight his improvement.

At times however he was a peripheral figure.  And after his exploits last week Phillipe Coutinho had a disappointing afternoon.

Liverpool held the lead to half time and fans expected better in the second.

But Southampton were the stronger side in the second half.  Glen Johnson looked exposed for pace at most opportunities - Daniel Sturridge cut a lonely figure at times - looking more akin to the Chelsea or City version, rather than the resplendent red we have come to know.

A goal for the Saints duly arrived 10 minutes into the second half.  Lovren was turned at the edge of the box and Clyne ended any faint hopes that Simon Mignolet could keep a clean sheet today.

Liverpool didn't really spring into action.  Lucas was removed, which helped - Allen sent on to replace him.

But the spark that Liverpool needed happened when a fellow Saint Rickie Lambert was sent on - replacing Coutinho.

Saints fans cheered Lambert louder than they had been barracking Dejan Lovren - and he immediately unsettled the opposition defence.  Sturridge suddenly sparked into life.  The fans got a little more animated and within 3 minutes Liverpool had scored the winner.

A cross sent over, Sterling with the touch on and Sturridge with the easy conversion for the goal.

Southampton had a late chance but similar to last season's opening game - Mignolet had a moment of magic.  This time sending a Schneiderlin attempt on to the woodwork.

The reds held on to grab an important three points - ahead of tricky visits to Man City and Spurs.


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