Liverpool moved into the second place with a crucial victory against Southampton and look more and more as genuine title contenders now. The Reds were visiting Southampton and won the match 3-0 and capitalized on Arsenal’s 1-0 slip up against Stoke City to move into the second position, four points behind league leaders Chelsea.
Southampton are the only side in the Premier League, who won against Liverpool at Anfield (a 1-0 win on 21st September). Liverpool stopped the gritty club from doing a double against them and secured a comprehensive win with goals from Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard.
After Luis Suarez put the Merseyside club ahead in the opening 20 minutes, Liverpool lost momentum and were completely outplayed by Southampton in that first half. The counter-attack and pressure put by the Saints on the Liverpool midfield and defence was admirable and it was quite shocking that the home side did not take the lead, rather than just equalize, after their numerous efforts.
However, Liverpool came out in the second half a new side, which was much more solid in the midfield. Rodgers replaced Coutinho with Raheem Sterling shortly after that, and the 19 year old converted a goal from a Suarez pass with his first touch of the game. Steven Gerrard then scored a penalty in the last stage of the game, after Luis Suarez was taken down in the box.
The Liverpool manager was pleased with his side’s display and spoke:
“I thought tactically the players were brilliant. We played a 4-4-2 diamond to try and give us the numbers in the middle of the field.
“Defensively we were outstanding – blocked lines, blocked spaces, we pressed the ball. We got three goals and could have had five or six again. I think the performance in terms of defensively is up there with the Arsenal game. This is a really difficult place to come, Southampton are an excellent side and press the ball really well.
“It was an all-round outstanding team performance both with and without the ball.”
When asked about Liverpool’s contention in the title challenge, Rodgers said:
We just want to keep winning games. There are 10 games to go now and we’ll just see where it takes us.
“We only want to win the next game, that’s our next focus. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
“We’re enjoying our football, we’re working very, very hard. Our idea now is to win the next game, and that’s our only focus. I think for us we’re just keeping going with what we’re doing.
“Everyone speaks about Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, and rightly so. They’re the three teams that have been up there for a number of years.
“We’re only concentrating on ourselves. I take great pride in working with the players and great pride in watching them and how they’ve developed over the 18 months. We just want to keep improving. Mentally, we are getting stronger all the time. Tactically, there is a number of formations that we’ve played this year. Our style will always try to be the same, but it’s good to have that flexibility in the team.”
Captain Steven Gerrard also spoke after the match:
“We’re fresh going into every game because we don’t have any European games.
“We said at the start of the season that we wanted to be in with a chance of winning the title with 10 matches to play and we are. It’s important to stay calm and take each game as it comes.”
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Highlights of the match: