Liverpool 2 Coutinho 3', Sterling 73'
- Pre-match thoughts: Mamadou Sakho being out with a reported hip injury is a blow, but hopefully one Liverpool can survive. Dejan Lovren has been more bad than good during his Liverpool career, but hopefully this is the day that he earns a hefty chunk of his transfer fee. It would be nice if Mario Balotelli was given a chance to keep coming back in to form, especially with Philippe Coutinho in dire need of a rest, but that was probably never going to happen.
- Liverpool and Emre Can are lucky that Kevin Friend was feeling generous right at the start of the match, because Can gave up a penalty in the first 20 seconds of the match that went uncalled. Then Joe Allen gave up another after Coutinho's goal, this one even more clearly a penalty, and that wasn't given either.
- Guess Coutinho wasn't tired three minutes in. Holy mother of Hades what a strike. Cool and composed from range, and that shot was a thunderbolt that nearly broke the crossbar on its way through.
- So. Uh. Mamadou Sakho is kiiiiiiiiind of important to this defense. Can on the left and Lovren on the right of a three man line winds up a little bit terrifying, at least early in this match. He and Lucas need to get healthy ASAP.
- Southampton fans are fun. "Dejan Lovren, you're just a $#!% Jose Fonte!" If only it wasn't more than a little true today...
- Can we talk about how poor Sterling was in the first half? It feels like we should. His movement was terrible, his head stayed down when he was on the ball, and he was marked out far too easily by a mediocre defender in Maya Yoshida. Actually, most of the side was pretty mediocre at best in the first half, with the exceptions of Jordon Ibe and Jordan Henderson. Even Coutinho was pretty absent after his goal.
- Half-time thoughts: That was an ugly half. Liverpool played very poorly, but lead thanks to a goal of the year candidate and some, uh, interesting refereeing. What did we learn? Dejan Lovren is still very bad. Emre Can isn't good on the left side of the back three. Joe Allen is a poor Lucas deputy. Oh god please come back Sakho. Kevin Friend is blind. Moving on? Moving on.
- More of the same early in the second half. Southampton controlling the flow and getting more danger, Liverpool somehow not conceding despite a wobbly defense. Introducing Alberto Moreno for a poor Lazar Markovic helped some, but a shaky day from Can and Lovren still left Simon Mignolet vulnerable. Fortunately, the Belgian was up to the task.
- Thankfully, Southampton still suck at clearances, and Raheem Sterling was in the right place to capitalize on it. Yay goals!
- Thanks for coming out, Glen Johnson. Hope your arm isn't too badly hurt, though.
- Full-time thoughts: Wins still count when they're ugly, but oh boy was that match not very much fun at all despite the scoreline. They're going to have to be much, much better to secure Europa League advancement on Thursday in Istanbul.
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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