Southampton 0 Liverpool 3 match report: Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling on target as Liverpool soar into title reckoning

Steven Gerrard added a late penalty as Liverpool showed no signs of letting up their title push

St Mary's Stadium

Liverpool put themselves into the Premier League title reckoning as they moved into second place yesterday evening, winning  on a ground where the two teams they climbed above, Arsenal and Manchester City, had settled for draws.

Luis Suarez celebrated his 100th Premier League appearance for Liverpool by scoring for the first time since the 4-0 victory over Everton on 28 January, a drought of five matches in all competitions. Raheem Sterling then netted with his first touch after taking the field as a second-half substitute to ensure Liverpool’s ninth League match without defeat, a fourth successive victory and a first win at St Mary’s since 2003. Steven Gerrard added a late penalty after Jose Fonte had tripped Suarez to make the win appear more comfortable than it was.

Saints beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield in September and 3-1 at St Mary’s in March – arguably the Reds’ most disappointing performance of last season – but yesterday the visitors rode out several spells of pressure to inflict back-to-back League defeats for Southampton and record a welcome clean sheet.

 

The subplot was the presence of nine members of Roy Hodgson’s squad for Wednesday’s England friendly against Denmark at Wembley – four from Saints, including the newly called-up Luke Shaw, and five from Liverpool, though Raheem Sterling began on the bench.

Southampton made one change to the team that lost 3-1 away to West Ham seven days previously, restoring Croatia defender Dejan Lovren to the centre of the back four for his first appearance since suffering an ankle ligament injury in the 2-2 draw away to Sunderland on 18 January. Liverpool’s only change from the team that beat Swansea City 4-3 last weekend was a place for Joe Allen at the expense of Sterling.

No doubt buoyed by the news of Arsenal’s defeat at Stoke City, Liverpool pressed forward from the kick-off, and came close to an opening goal in the first five minutes when Allen’s first-time pass sent Sturridge clear down the right It looked certain that a square pass would set Suarez up for a tap-in, but Sturridge did not put quite enough pace on the ball and Fonte slid in to intercept at the expense of a corner.

There was a brief scare when Shaw went down in a heap after an aerial challenge with Liverpool’s right-back, Jon Flanagan, but he continued after treatment. Flanagan was involved in another incident soon afterwards when he challenged Adam Lallana in the penalty area. The Saints captain fell, but Lee Probert, the referee, was unimpressed.

Instead of going a goal down, Liverpool found themselves ahead after 16 minutes. Suarez collected a throw-in on the left and moved infield, intent on exchanging passes with Sturridge. Southampton intercepted Sturridge’s return only for the ball to ricochet off Fonte and back into the path of Suarez, who slipped the ball low past the left hand of Artur Boruc.

Southampton should have been level just past the half-hour. Jay Rodriguez crossed from the right and Rickie Lambert chested the ball down into the path of Lallana. An excellent first touch gave the latter the space he needed to slip the ball past Simon Mignolet, but he rolled his shot against the foot of the post instead of into the net.

Liverpool, were now being increasingly starved of possession, although that was no excuse for Sturridge throwing himself at the turf on two occasons in the vain hope that Probert would err in his favour.

Rodgers brought off the increasingly ineffective Philippe Coutinho for Raheem Sterling, and it paid off instantly. Suarez took Steven Gerrard’s pass from deep and turned into space on the right. His low cross found Sterling, who stabbed the ball low past Boruc, 80 seconds after taking the field.

Line-ups:

Southampton (4-3-3): Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; S Davis (Ramirez, h-t), Cork (Wanyama, 76), Schneiderlin; Lallana, Lambert (Gallagher, 76), Rodriguez.

Liverpool (4-1-3-2): Mignolet; Flanagan, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Gerrard; Henderson, Coutinho (Sterling, 57), Allen; Sturridge (Aspas, 86), Suarez.

Referee: Lee Probert.

Man of the match: Suarez (Liverpool)

Match rating: 7/10

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot