Liverpool 1-0 Saints
Few Saints fans would have returned from Liverpool reflecting on the entertainment value they received for their money: not at £42 for an adult ticket, plus SFC’s additional £1.50 tax on its own fans.
At least LSSC’s travellers were treated to Gill’s festive sausage rolls and minced pies on the way up (well, we don’t think Mick baked them) and the committee’s generosity with your own club funds on the way back. We didn’t get very good seats though – possibly another bonus given the display by unchanged Saints, and not that anyone was allowed to sit down anyway because of those standing in front.
With Gerrard in form and Lucas returning, Liverpool’s midfield can be a formidable unit and they certainly denied their visitors much sight of the ball, but the Reds’ concern is how to turn possession into goals, especially at home. They could still have been out of sight by half time as Shelvey saw an angled drive come back off the frame and then Suarez confused Gazzaniga with a free kick that hit the bar full on – this time, though, they did emerge with some reward as the ball was never properly cleared and eventually Johnson, whose overlap play was a problem all afternoon, crossed for Agger to head home.
There was some cheer for the visitors in the little time remaining before the break as Lambert tried an audacious strike from way out that forced Reina into his only save of the half. Unfortunately it turned out to be his only meaningful action in the entire game as Saints didn’t seem to vary their approach from Plan A. Fair enough, as we were being outplayed and you still have some sort of a chance at 0-1, but maybe there does come a point when you might try something more ambitious than Rodriguez for Puncheon? For an alternative view, see the match report on www.saintsfc.co.uk – it doesn’t seem much like the game we all watched.
LSSC Man of the Match: Nathaniel Clyne, narrowly edging out Fonte in the voting. Certainly someone at the back must have been doing something right to keep Liverpool down to one.