Saints 0-2 Liverpool
Manager Koeman gave Djuričić a starting role against Liverpool and the on-loan Serb was soon in controversial action, falling under Can’s penalty area challenge in the opening minute – ‘play on’ was referee Friend’s verdict, and that was to be his prevailing decision throughout a turbulent half. Frazer Forster was beaten by a terrific Shelvey effort in our last Sunday outing and he must have contemplated taking up a more dutiful praying schedule when an even better shot by Coutinho whistled into his net on three minutes.
Djuričić then burst through again and was prevented from getting in a shot by Allen who certainly didn’t play the ball either – ‘play on’ of course, and Elia couldn’t do anything with the loose ball. Both sides had further penalty appeals before the break, but the clearest decision appeared to be for a red-card-able handball by Mignolet to stop Elia – as usual neither ref. nor assistant could find anything wrong.
Fit(ish) again Schneiderlin came on for struggling Davis at the interval, but it was odd that in-form Mané was still omitted from a side short on goals and up-front confidence. He eventually appeared with 35 minutes left and did at least liven things up a bit, but Long remained on the bench as the final change was Tadić for the fading Djuričić, who looks rather lightweight for the challenges of the Premier League. By then Saints were needing quite a lot from their dry well of goals as a slip by Targett had let Sterling in for a second from the visitors.
There are plenty of ways of slicing our (lack of) scoring statistics, but one successful strike in four and a half matches is making even Aston Villa seem prolific, and we are still waiting for a home Premier League goal in 2015. It might have been tempting to have introduced Lambert, but of course he was occupying someone else’s bench.
LSSC Man of the Match: Maya Yoshida. Actually I’d have had him at full back while Bernard completes his suspension, but Ronnie surely knows best.