Southampton 3 Liverpool 1 match report: Saints rip up the form book to cruise past Rodgers' rising Liverpool

 

st mary's stadium

This was a result and a match that defied form and logic, but then Southampton under Mauricio Pochettino seem to have made that something of a speciality. Since he replaced Nigel Adkins in January, Saints have lost to Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle and failed to beat Norwich and Wigan – but put a team with European ambitions in front of them and they are a different proposition.

Until yesterday an improbable victory over Manchester City was Pochettino's only Premier League success, but the style of this dismissal of Liverpool suggests that more will follow, with the caveat that his team's results are scarcely predictable. Yesterday, though, Southampton dominated a team in search of a fifth successive victory, with the league's top scorer Luis Suarez coming into the game in imperious form, and could have scored more than three times, even if their own defending was nothing to brag about.

"I always like to get victories," the Argentinian Pochettino said via an interpreter. "What is important is that the team believes in the methods I am trying to instil. We set up in a very positive way and I think we made Liverpool really uncomfortable on the pitch. We pressed them and put in a really big effort and that's the way we want to play."

Suarez, with seven goals in his previous four appearances, cut a frustrated figure as the openings that Liverpool created failed to come his way. The visitors' defence was especially shambolic in the absence of the injured Jamie Carragher, and Steven Gerrard was unable to establish any dominance in midfield. "We just weren't very good," Liverpool's manager, Brendan Rodgers, said. "We didn't start to play until we were 2-0 down. We looked bright in attack, but it's very difficult when you concede goals like we did. It's something I know we need to improve on and develop as a group."

Brad Jones, the Liverpool goalkeeper, probably guessed he was in for a torrid afternoon when Gaston Ramirez's half-volley sent him sprawling full-length in the opening minutes as Southampton passed and moved at pace like a Paisley-era Liverpool team. After five minutes they were ahead, Ramirez crossed from the right, Jay Rodriguez evaded Glen Johnson to head the ball down and Morgan Schneiderlin beat Martin Skrtel to flick the ball past Jones with the outside of his right foot.

It should have been two after nine minutes. Liverpool fan Rickie Lambert was as surprised as anyone to find himself onside as he ran on to a long hopeful punt, but with only the advancing Jones to beat he hit the ball against the goalkeeper's feet. Then Adam Lallana's shot was parried by Jones, Rodriguez volleying the rebound over.

Just when you wondered if Southampton would regret their profligacy, they doubled the lead after 32 minutes thanks to a huge stroke of fortune. Lambert got up after a foul on him by Skrtel 30 yards out to strike the free-kick straight at the wall, only for the ball to hit Daniel Sturridge and skid wide of the helpless Jones.

Yet even as Southampton dominated, their defence looked vulnerable to counter-attacks. After 40 minutes, Philippe Coutinho raced through and hit a shot against the legs of Saints' goalkeeper Artur Boruc when he should have scored. However, the Brazilian – believed to have been a target for Pochettino in January after playing for him on loan at Espanyol last season – made amends in first-half injury time. Sturridge turned on Gerrard's headed pass and fired into a crowd of defenders, the rebound falling for Coutinho to sweep the ball home from five yards.

Anyone who expected both managers to tighten the defences at half-time was pleasantly surprised as the chances continued to flow. Suarez was inches from reaching a chipped pass from Lucas Leiva, Luis Enrique headed away at full stretch to prevent Lallana nodding in, and then Lallana could have made sure after 77 minutes when he timed his run into the penalty area perfectly but was unable to lift the ball over Jones.

It did not matter as Rodriguez made it 3-1 a minute later, running unchallenged from half-way, side-stepping Skrtel and Daniel Agger and shooting low. Jones blocked, but Rodriguez followed up to restore justice to the scoreline.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Fair trade: the idea of honesty boxes relies on people paying their way
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary