Liverpool took on Southampton at Anfield in the two sides’ opening game of the season.
Hello, and welcome to our first liveblog. The teams are out, and new signing Shane Long starts on the bench for the Saints.
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Manquillo, Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge
Subs: Jones, Toure, Sakho, Allen, Ibe, Can, Lambert
SOUTHAMPTON: Forster, Clyne, Fonte (c), Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Ward-Prowse, Tadić, Pellè.
Subs: K. Davis (GK), Long, Taïder, Cork, Hooiveld, Isgrove, Stephens.
Southampton were just one of two teams to beat Liverpool at Anfield last season — the other, of course, being Chelsea.
A general view of Anfield ahead of the game today.
(Liverpool fans display a banner of “Boss” manager Brendan Rodgers in the stands)
8 mins: The Southampton fans are unimpressed with the Anfield atmosphere so far, chanting “is this a library?”
Not much to speak of on the field so far — Liverpool have had the better possession without creating any genuine chances.
12 mins: Tadic is played through down the left flank but he’s adjudged to be marginally offside. That could be an area of joy for the Saints, as Liverpool’s offside trap looked less than assured there.
Down the other end, there are claims for a Liverpool penalty, which the referee waves away, after Daniel Sturridge goes down. Replays reveal the challenge was outside the box anyway.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman wants a part of the action.
19 mins: Liverpool have really dominated possession in the opening stages, but they’ve shown little threat in attack.
Southampton look well organised and have shown glimpses of creativity on the rare opportunities they’ve had to attack.
21 mins: Panic in the Liverpool box as a dangerous corner is flighted in.
Mignolet eventually gathers the ball at about the fourth or fifth attempt. A sign of early-season nerves perhaps?
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Southampton (Sterling 23)
Great play from Jordan Henderson, who wins the ball before playing a glorious through pass to Raheem Sterling.
The young winger finishes consummately to give Liverpool the lead.
Here’s a look at that very well-taken Sterling goal that’s given Liverpool the lead.
The England Euros hype has started already.
29 mins: Wanyama has fallen awkwardly and is currently receiving treatment.
Liverpool at the moment are looking relatively comfortable without playing especially well.
33 mins: Ward-Prowse curls in a dangerous free-kick that eludes all the outfield players in the box and almost creeps in to the top corner.
However, Mignolet is well positioned to make a good save, tipping the ball just over the bar.
39 mins: Southampton are coming into the game a bit more now.
As I type, Ward-Prowse curls a shot from distance that Mignolet saves comfortably.
Great tackle from Yoshida to stop Coutinho from rampaging through on goal.
Down the other end, Mignolet makes an excellent save to tip over Schneiderlin’s curling effort.
The wantaway Saints star hasn’t looked great today, but that was certainly a glimpse of his undoubted talent.
HALF-TIME: LIVERPOOL 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON
Compared to the thrills and spills of last season that frequently characterised Liverpool games, this match has been a less entertaining affair.
They haven’t been as sprightly as usual in attack, save for one moment of combined brilliance from Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling for the goal.
The Reds have however, looked more assured in defence for the most part, with Dejan Lovren’s influence clearly aiding them in that regard.
Meanwhile, Southampton haven’t looked too bad, considering the number of changes in their squad over the summer, but like Liverpool, their attack has lacked the potency required at this level more often than not.
The second half is underway…
50 mins: Good start to the second half by Southampton. They’ve passed the ball around confidently and have just won a corner.
It’s been an even enough game with the Saints threatening to gain the upperhand now.
GOAL FOR SOUTHAMPTON!
GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Southampton (Clyne 55)
Lovely link-up play between Tadic and Clyne, with the latter smashing the ball home after being played through via an ingenious backheel from the former.
Southampton have matched Liverpool in most areas today, so that goal is hardly undeserved.
Here’s what Southampton’s equaliser looked like.
Meanwhile, Joe Allen is currently getting warmed up as Liverpool get ready to make changes.
61 mins: More great interplay between Tadic and Ward-Prowse, before Davis’ tame shot is saved by Mignolet. That was a very good chance for the Saints to take an unlikely lead.
Liverpool need to pick up the pace or they could even lose this game.
68 mins: Tadic is causing Liverpool all sorts of problems with his intelligent play up front.
The 25-year-old looks well worth the £10.9 million that Southampton paid for him from Twente in the summer.
Meanwhile, Shane Long is getting ready to come on for Southampton.
Somewhat surprisingly, the effervescent Tadic has been replaced by Long.
It’s been a very good day’s work for the Serbian striker.
75 mins: The ball falls to Henderson but he drags his shot just wide, as Liverpool show signs of frustration.
Meanwhile, Rickie Lambert has come on for Coutinho, and gets a good reception from both the Liverpool and Southampton fans.
78 mins: Liverpool are already putting a great deal of pressure on the Southampton defence since Lambert’s introduction.
Their attack has a decidedly more direct look about it.
GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL!
GOAL! Liverpool 2-1 Southampton (Sturridge 78)
The Liverpool striker is in the right place at the right time, latching on to Sterling’s header to tap home.
An ecstatic Brendan Rodgers runs onto the field to celebrate.
Here’s that poacher’s finish from Sturridge.
85 mins: This game is by no means over.
Liverpool still have a very attacking lineup on the field and Southampton are currently pushing for a winner.
As I type, Pelle’s low drive is comfortably saved by Mignolet.
87 mins: Schneiderlin’s shot hits the underside of the bar and then alls to Long, who heads just wide.
The Irish international will be disappointed to have missed that.
There will be four minutes of added time…
(Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet makes a save from Southampton’s Steven Davis)
FULL-TIME: LIVERPOOL 2-1 SOUTHAMPTON
So it’s all over. Liverpool dig deep to beat a Southampton side that impressed considering how many players they lost over the summer.
There wasn’t much between the sides in truth, but in the end, Liverpool had the necessary cutting edge to see them through, with Raheem Sterling picking up a goal and an assist.
It was far from a vintage display from Brendan Rodgers’ side, but all that really matters is they achieved the desired result against a team that beat them in the same fixture last season.
Southampton will be disappointed by the manner in which they conceded the two goals, but there are plenty of positives overall to take from the game for Ronald Koeman, with his side pushing last season’s runners-up extremely close, and Victor Wanyama and Dusan Tadic looking particularly impressive.
Right, that’s it from me for now.
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