A wonder strike from Coutinho and a late Sterling goal ensured Liverpool closed the gap on the teams at the top and reignited the chase for the top four.
The rain thundered down on the south coast as Liverpool, despite an average footballing performance, closed the gap on Southampton to 1 point.
Mamadou Sakho was ruled out with a knock to the hip - meaning that Dejan Lovren returned to the starting line up against his old club. At the other end of the pitch Daniel Sturridge was left on the bench - with Sterling starting up front.
In the opening seconds of the game it became obvious that Emre Can had been switched to the left side of the centre defence - allowing Lovren to play on the right. Markovic too was playing in a more unfamiliar left wing back role.
Southampton had a shout for a penalty in the opening minute of the game - but replays suggested it was a debatable one. In the third minute, with the rain driving down, the first goal arrived.
Coutinho picked up the ball thirty yards out - opened up his body and lashed in a rocket that smashed in off the cross-bar. Perfection and a 1-0 lead.
In the following minute Southampton probably should have had a penalty -Filip Djuricic looked to be brought down by Joe Allen.
The rest of the half was filled with anonymous Liverpool performances in a rather sloppy game from both sides. Markovic, Lallana and Sterling were all anonymous. Can was looking out of place at left back - Allen was average and Lovren looked like an accident waiting to happen. Ibe was arguably the reds more consistent player of the half - alongside Mignolet who produced a couple of important saves.
With ten minutes to go Raheem Sterling had a shout for a penalty that was also waved away.
Both sides made a change at half time - for Liverpool it was taking off Markovic and bringing on Moreno. As obvious a substitution as you will see this season.
In the 63rd minute the reds made another change after a stale opening - Lallana being replaced by Daniel Sturridge. Despite 14 years service for the Saints, the home fans at St Mary's booed Lallana as he left the field.
Sturridge showed flashes of brilliance, but his game still appears rusty in places as he failed to get a couple of attempts away quick enough.
In the 73rd minute Moreno sent the ball across into the Saints defence - it wasn't dealt with and the ball popped out to Sterling who rode the challenge of three players to fire in from inside the box.
Brendan Rodgers raised his arms aloft with relief and immediately brought off Jordon Ibe for a deserved rest.
Liverpool played out the rest of the game in a comfortable fashion and are now within 4 points of 3rd place. The race for the Champions League places just got more interesting.