Liverpool 0-1 Southampton – Naive Rodgers Punished

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Before the season started to suggest Liverpool would lose their first game of the league season at home to Southampton would have acquired some strange looks. As it turns out Liverpool have once again turned up for the big games (Manchester United) and hugely under achieved against lower opposition (Southampton, even Swansea). This trend shows no signs of improving under Brendan Rodgers and it is a trend that needs to be eradicated as soon as possible.

Many questions remain after a puzzling loss at Anfield on Saturday. The team selection was astonishing. At home against a team Liverpool should be expected to dispose of easily. Playing four centre backs, were Liverpool playing Stoke? No out and out attacking fullbacks.  Mamadou Sakho looked like he’d rather pit it out against Mike Tyson than play left back again. This was a huge gamble by Rodgers and it completely misfired. Distribution from the back was nullified by Southampton closing down options for Simon Mignolet short and forcing him to go long and this created a fifty-fifty ball for the visitors.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Daniel Sturridge was forced to go wide and receive the ball due to the close attention he was receiving and also the lack of quality distribution from the rest of the team. Sturridge should have in fact won a penalty after a foul by Dejan Lovren as the Liverpool striker skipped by him and was clearly clipped. Even though referee Swarbrick was placed perfectly he declined the option to award the penalty.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Steven Gerrard went close from a free kick which Artur Boruc done well to palm away as it curled towards the top left hand corner of the goal. Victor Moses threatened down the left and could have had two goals but for Boruc.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

A mistake by Martin Skrtel at the start of the second half lead to Kolo Toure having to cover for him and thus conceding a corner. Centre back Lovren outmuscled Skrtel and Daniel Agger and headed past Mignolet as Gerrard unsuccessfully tried to clear off the line.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

The body language and attitude from the majority of Liverpool players seemed to be that of frustration and a severe lack of desire as things wore on and the game went from bad to worse on a really poor day at Anfield for the home team. Southampton on the other hand were well set up and thoroughly organised throughout by Mauricio Pochettino as he led the south coast team to only their third win in thirty visits to Anfield.

Picture courtesy of Liverpoolfc.com

Philippe Coutinho’s absence was a huge void to fill and with Glen Johnson also missing Liverpool looked short of creativity with Gerrard and co failing to impress in their absence. Luis Suarez will return for the next league game but high hopes should not be pinned to the Uruguayan as he will likely miss his fair share of games based on his past history. Brendan Rodgers tried to be too smart today with four centre backs. They looked awkward when on the ball and successful distribution out of the back was largely null and void. Learning on the job for Rodgers is starting to wear thin for many Liverpool supporters. This is the risk the owners run however when you appoint an inexperienced manager. Would Moses and Jose Enrique have done a better job at the full back positions from the start? Where will Sturridge play once Suarez is back will be the main question among Liverpool supporters this coming week. Suarez did not impress wide on the right last season for the reds. The six weeks that Coutinho is likely to miss will seem like six years if Saturdays performance is anything to go by.

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet – 8
  • 04 Toure – 6
  • 05 Agger – 5 (Jose Enrique – 57′ )
  • 17 Sakho – 4
  • 37 Skrtel – 3 (Alberto – 72′ )
  • 08 Gerrard – 5
  • 09 Aspas – 3 (Sterling – 46′ )
  • 12 Moses – 7
  • 14 Henderson – 5
  • 21 Lucas – 5
  • 15 Sturridge – 6

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 34 Kelly
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 06 Alberto
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Ibe

Southampton

  • 31 Boruc – 8
  • 02 Clyne – 7 (Booked)
  • 05 Lovren – 8
  • 06 Fonte – 7
  • 23 Shaw – 6
  • 04 Schneiderlin – 6
  • 09 Rodriguez – 7 (Cork – 89′ )
  • 12 Wanyama – 7
  • 17 Osvaldo – 6
  • 20 Lallana – 7 (Ward-Prowse – 76′ )
  • 07 Lambert – 7 (S Davis – 66′ )

Substitutes

  • 01 K Davis
  • 26 Hooiveld
  • 08 S Davis
  • 10 Ramirez
  • 16 Ward-Prowse
  • 18 Cork
  • 22 Chambers
Referee: Swarbrick
Attendance: 44,755
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2 thoughts on “Liverpool 0-1 Southampton – Naive Rodgers Punished

  1. Completely agree on all the points you raise Jonathan. What was Rodgers thinking off when he selected four centre backs to play, at home, against Southampton? Surely they only have one Ricky Lambert in their line up and not four? Or rather was it a case of, having bought Sakho for £16 million then he’d better play him. Ditto Toure minus the fee. Would a combination from Wisdom, Kelly, Flanagan (and the on loan Robinson) have been any worse than what we saw yesterday, or was it a case of home grown talent not being worth consideration? I can see why Rodgers has brought in Cissokho and left Enrique on the bench. Jose consistently lets himself down with poor decision making, wayward passes and lapses in concentration; but at least he is a proper left back.

    It was, even allowing for the absence of Couthino, a poor performance. Every play bar Lucas had a stinker; Gerrard was slow to the ball and his decision making was off. Agger did not look fully fit. Sakho had said he wasn’t coming Anfield to play left back and put in a shift designed to make it impossible for Rodgers to play him there again, Sturridge was all glares, sulks and hands on hips. Were they all saving themselves for Man Utd in the week? Or were they just what they are, an expensively assembled team of 2nd tier players?

    How often is Rodgers’ team selection off the mark. This isn’t the first time that the fans have been left scratching their heads at the line up. If the manager takes advice on his selections before he names the team then he needs better advisers. If he doesn’t then he urgently needs to start talking to his staff and let’s hope they are strong enough to say “hang on that’s not going to work”.

    Suarez will be back on Wednesday. No doubt his return will paper over some of the weaknesses in Rodger’s squad, namely the lack of muscle up front and the lack of guile and intelligence in the absence of Coutinho. Twelve months ago we could have brought Suso into that role…..what a shame he is now showcasing his skills at Almeria (5 starts and one goal so far).

    Like

    • Stephen,
      Late getting back to you here. Any opinions on the second half performances so far this season? Shocking to see how far we drop off in the second half compared to the first. A much needed win against Palace on Saturday and two winnable games after the international break before we play Arsenal.

      Like

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