Southampton 1-0 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool’s first leg of the League Cup Semi Finals ended up in defeat. A single goal by Nathan Redmond was enough to ensure victory for the home side in this two-legged cup tie.
Some good news for Liverpool was that a few previously injured players are not returning to action. James Milner is returning to his left back position which Moreno has only claimed at the times when Milner wasn’t fit to play since very early in the season. Daniel Sturridge has gotten over a few bumps and bruises we’ve seen him take during live performances recently. He’s doing rather well to play from the start at the times he’s asked to. You’re not always a substitute, Daniel. I hope you appreciate being given these opportunities. We appreciate you being there when we need you.
Then of course, most Reds were exceedingly happy to see that Coutinho’s name was mentioned for the squad at all. He didn’t start, but he was able to make an appearance as substitute in the second half. According to reports and interviews with Klopp “Coutinho is preparing for the Manchester United game coming up” – which includes match practice. He wasn’t given 90 minutes, but what he was given is enough to prepare him for when we travel to Old Trafford and will likely need him for the whole game.
So, Liverpool weren’t exactly at “full strength”, but we really had enough players to have at least scored once in this game. It was a slow-paced game at times, the Liverpool team looked like they were still getting used to some tactical changes. For instance, Adam Lallana was out on the right wing where you’d normally see Sadio Mané but since he’s busy with the AFCON tournament, we had to put a very central attacker on the far side of the pitch. He did okay, but it’s not his natural position and it showed.
Another player that wouldn’t usually be where he was but has been “filling in” for someone else is Emre Can.
He’s been Jordan Henderson’s replacement at the moment. Can’s been doing quite well and works very hard, you can’t fault him for effort in the game but I think we all know that Hendo needs to be on that pitch, where Can was.
It’s a strange thing to take over someone else’s role. We know the high quality of the squad Liverpool have, but tell them to go play in a position they don’t usually play in and you’re not going to see the same high quality of someone who knows their natural position better than the one you’re asking them to be in. It’ll take time to adjust.
So, we got on with adjusting to the style we’ve had to play without some regular key players to use right now.
By the end of the game, Klopp was actually passing notes to his players – Daniel Sturridge even carried one onto the pitch with him.
Liverpool had their chances to score, mostly in the second half.
As soon as Coutinho came on, we looked dangerous enough to get a goal eventually. It was not for lack of trying that we ended up not scoring.
Coutinho would attack.
Firmino would attack.
You know, even our defender Clyne had a shot but it was blocked. We were trying.
Credit to Southampton’s goalkeeper Fraser Forster too, for making some saves that kept our shots from becoming goals.
Man of the Match
Our goalkeeper Loris Karius was the most important person on the pitch, in a game where we weren’t scoring ourselves.
At our far end of the pitch, we had someone who attempting to make sure we would have a fighting chance to keep going with this competition. He did well to keep out some shots which may have increased the lead to something we may not be able to overcome in the 2nd leg. As it is, we can go back to Anfield and surely score ONE goal. Make it to extra time and possibly even a penalty shoot out with that goal we get. How about more? Maybe more than 1. If we can get 2 before the final whistle blows, then even better. That’s possible too, not completely out of the question. It’s not like we haven’t scored up to 6 goals in a single game this season. We know how to score and the home fans get to see us do it quite regularly.
It’ll be all to play for still in the rest of the Semi Final we take back to Anfield. Sure, we didn’t win or even draw this game. There’s still no need for negativity, though. “If this was the FA Cup we’d be knocked out of the tournament”? Well, IF the club I support was Barcelona I’d have Neymar, Messi and Suarez in my squad to score goals! BUT I DON’T support Barcelona. I support Liverpool – when they lose, draw or win. There’s no room for those negative “IF” comments in my support.
Qualification for the League Cup Final is still possible. Just focus on the positives for now and we’ll see what we can do about getting to the Final back in Liverpool.
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[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 (more than 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.