Rush leaves the Saints stranded

Liverpool 3 Southampton 1
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Liverpool may have won the Coca-Cola Cup on Sunday but there is no hint that they are resting on their achievement. They stalled Southampton's bolt for safety last night while at the same time ruining Bruce Grobbelaar's return to Anfield for first time since his move to the south coast last summer.

The Southampton goalkeeper was greeted with a standing ovation by the Kop, suggesting they had no truck with the charges of match fixing that Grobbelaar was allegedly involved in while with Liverpool. Ian Rush gave him an even hotter reception, scoring twice, while Robbie Fowler got Liverpool's third with a penalty. This after the visitors had taken the lead through Richard Hall.

In 13 years at Anfield, Grobbelaar's eccentricities were common place and it was with a sense of dj vu that the home crowd watched their former goalkeeper hit a simple clearance at Rush. The rebound forced the Liverpool captain to his right, however, and his shot, from an angle, went into the side netting.

Grobbelaar's miscalculation had escaped punishment; David James at the opposite end was less fortunate. After 13 minutes he flapped at Matthew Le Tissier's corner and Hall coolly half-volleyed through a thicket of players.

The lead lasted 14 minutes before Rush restored parity. Again the goal came from a corner and, again, there was defensive hesitation, this time the Southampton rearguard's. Jamie Redknapp's kick skidded through the area and Rush stooped to head in.

Liverpool then squandered a number of chances, the best of which saw Redknapp hit the bar, and they had to wait until the 53rd minute when Rush struck for his second. A long ball from Neil Ruddock was delightfully controlled with one deft touch by Rob Jones who then passed to Rush. The Welsh striker cut in from the right and hit a low shot from 25 yards that was deflected off Hall past Grobbelaar.

The result was secured 15 minutes from time when Jason Dodd brought down Mark Walters, Fowler scoring from the spot with little fuss.

Liverpool (5-3-2): James; R Jones, Scales, Ruddock, Babb, Bjrnebye (Walters, 62); McManaman, Redknapp, Barnes; Rush, Fowler. Substitutes not used: Thomas, Chamberlain (gk).

Southampton (4-4-2): Grobbelaar; Dodd, Hall, Widdrington, Charlton; Le Tissier, Magilton, Maddison, Heaney (Tisdale, 60); Watson, Shipperley. Substitutes not used: Allan, Beasant (gk).

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).