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Liverpool 2, Southampton 1: First Thoughts

In Liverpool's opening game of the season, the home side began with a fortunate victory against a determined and enterprising Southampton side.

Alex Livesey

liverpool blog fc sbn

Liverpool 2 Sterling 23', Sturridge 79'
Southampton 1 Clyne 56'

  • The big surprise of the game was Lucas starting ahead of Emre Can and Joe Allen who were thought to be battling to partner Steven Gerrard in midfield with Jordan Henderson operating on the right of a 4231. Much has been made of the lack of mobility of Gerrard and Lucas in a double pivot but in the opening ten minutes, Southampton's 433 in a low block meant Liverpool's midfield wasn't under too much pressure but the central midfield two were sat a bit too deep in the opening fifteen minutes

  • Liverpool's opening goal was an excellent example of harrying, winning the ball back, and playing a sumptuous through ball for a calm head to finish. A 24-year-old Jordan Henderson showed his range of capabilities in midfield and 19-year-old Raheem Sterling displayed excellent movement, speed, and composure in front of goal. Liverpool's first competitive goal of the season

  • A major worry in the first half was the last ten minutes where Liverpool were pushed back without being stretched as Southampton spent far more time in Liverpool's half as Liverpool's midfield sat in increasingly deep positions but Henderson drifted inside intelligently to assist with his natural diligence in supporting his colleagues. However, Southampton didn't cause much danger throughout the first half but such a development was worrying given the history of Liverpool's midfield malfunctions in Brendan Rodgers' tenure at the club.

  • Well, the caution became a reality and Southampton equalised through Nathaniel Clyne's stunning finish after good work by Dusan Tadic. It wasn't a surprise, which was the most disappointing aspect of the home team's performance. Liverpool invited pressure through and were punished. Joe Allen's introduction for Lucas didn't immediately have the effect desired but Allen was influential for a couple of minutes before Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool ahead. The Welsh midfielder was buzzing around and provided more energy in midfield.

  • It was important to see Liverpool start with a victory and Brendan Rodgers' side did just that. It wasn't entirely pretty nor convincing and Ronald Koeman will rightly feel that his side was desperately unlucky to leave Merseyside with nothing to show for their efforts. A trip to Manchester City is next and Liverpool will have to perform much better than today to come away from the Etihad Stadium with any points.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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