Saints 3-1 Liverpool
Clyne was restored to the team to face Liverpool after a surprise omission, but Fonte sat out the beginning – another surprise, finding Hooiveld preferred to counter Liverpool’s mobile but diminutive forwards.
Not that the Liverpool attack played much part in a highly satisfactory first 44 minutes, with Saints very good value for a two goal advantage, despite Fonte entering the fray early because of injury.
There was a lot of finesse about a sixth minute opener, with Ramirez’s flighted cross met with a cushioned header by Rodriguez followed by a subtle finish from Schneiderlin. Lambert made a mess of a superb opportunity when the offside trap was breached and a fortunate break for Lallana ended with Rodriguez lobbing over with ‘keeper Jones out of position, so a second goal was overdue.
It came with a bit of luck, but Lambert will still claim the credit for firing in a free kick that took an ideal deflection off a disintegrating wall, and when Coutinho was confused by Boruc’s idiosyncratic way of dealing with a one-on-one situation, a happy half time was looming.
However, Saints can conjure a defensive mix up from the best of situations, and could-have-been-Saint Coutinho found the net in added time after a scramble in the box.
Lucas replaced Allen at the break, allowing Gerrard to venture forward, and this looked like producing rewards until Saints regrouped with Steve Davis replacing Ramirez.
Suarez almost found a way through for the visitors, but the best chance of a goal fell to Lallana, who couldn’t beat Jones.
Neither could Rodriguez at the first attempt, following a solo run from the half way line, but the rebound fell nicely for him and Saints found themselves two up with little over 10 minutes to play.
They had deserved that luxury, and there wasn’t much chance of Liverpool threatening a comeback with a tame from them performance throughout. So Mauricio bagged another prize scalp for his second win; given what happened against QPR in between, maybe it’s as well to have the European Champions up next.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jay Rodriguez, for an excellent assist and a spectacular goal (at least it would have been spectacular, had he finished first time).