LIVERPOOL 2 – 1 SOUTHAMPTON
Liverpool are BACK.
Our home game against Southampton wasn’t as easy to win as many of us had thought before the game. Southampton had been selling half of their squad in this transfer window. Liverpool bought Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren and Man United bought Luke Shaw, their squad for this opening Premier League game was seriously different from their squad which beat Man United last season. This is what really filled me and no doubt others with large amounts of confidence that it would be certain victory for Liverpool before the match had even kicked off.
Once the referee had blown his whistle and we started playing, Liverpool looked strong and we generally dominated the first half. There was a couple of chances for them when they managed to get inside our penalty area but our defense was fairly strong and we managed to clear the shots without our goalkeeper needing to make much effort inside the first 45 minutes. Skrtel and Lovren were on good form and nothing was getting past them and most reds fans would have had high hopes about keeping a clean sheet, it looked very possible.
We scored first in the 23rd minute when a genius pass from Jordan Henderson found Raheem Sterling and he squeezed in behind two Southampton defenders (Nathaniel Clyne was closest and trying to muscle him off the ball but failed to do so) and Sterling calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal, past the goalkeeper who was coming off his line. Liverpool lead 1-0 at half time and Brendan Rodgers probably just said “do what you were just doing in the second half, please”. However it wasn’t to be like that again.
The second half saw Southampton look quite brave. I don’t know if their manager urged them to get forward and attack more but they ended up pressing further and further into Liverpool’s penalty area, often shooting and forcing our goalkeeper to put more effort in than he had in the first half. Mignolet looked quite comfortable making saves but in the 56th minute, their constant attacking paid off when Nathaniel Clyne managed to make his way past Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel and place the ball into the net with Mignolet perhaps being slightly blind-sided by his own defense (the defenders in front of him seemed to have obstructed his view as the attack was made) and could not get down to save the shot in time.
With just over half an hour to go, Southampton had an equalizer and Liverpool no longer looked like getting all three points. Liverpool were just defending the constant attacks that seemed to be never-ending and having very few chances of our own on goal. There was a point where that changed, however. Brendan Rodgers had decided to make a change to the team around 75 minutes and Coutinho (who hadn’t played badly but also hadn’t managed to score) was replaced by Rickie Lambert. The former Southampton man made a difference as soon as he came on. He had opportunities of his own and also spent some time on the wing, crossing in balls which hadn’t been happening previously. We looked focused on our “mission” – to score the winning goal of the game.
It was less than 4 minutes before Lambert’s presence on the pitch created a goal and as Daniel Sturridge managed to stretch out a leg and tap in the cross that came to him from close distance. It was clever and tactics by the manager and confident attacking play initiated by Rickie Lambert which resulted in the winning goal of the game. The SAS were a major part of our attacking play and provided the goals we needed for our victory.
All in all, it was important for the Liverpool fans to see their team get three points at Anfield on the opening day of the new season. We fought hard, we got what we needed… ALL WITHOUT LUIS SUAREZ. We have proven already that we can score and win without a certain Uruguayan that likes to bite people being in our team.
Next up… Manchester City (away) on 25th August.
You’ll Never Walk Alone, reds.
[written by] Stuart Drewery
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so i was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.