Liverpool’s perfect start to the Premier League season was brought to a rather surprising but hard fought end by Southampton at Anfield on Saturday.
The ‘Saints’ put up an accomplished display to hand Brendan Rodgers’ side their first defeat of the ongoing campaign as a Dejan Lovren goal made the difference.
“We are bitterly disappointed and it was one of them days,” Rodgers told BBC One Match of the Day.
“We were not so good with the ball and, technically, nowhere near the level we have been at.
“The players have been excellent for these last few months and today was an off-day.”
Liverpool made three changes from the side that started at Sawnsea last Monday as Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas came in for Andre Wisdom, Jose Enrique and Philippe Coutinho- meaning four centre-backs started in Rodgers’ backline.
The first ten minutes of the game did make many believe the Reds’ fine start was here to stay as the home team looked quite impressive going forward, but the visitors managed stopped them in the course of the.
Nevertheless, Liverpool had the first meaningful sight at goal when a Steven Gerrard free-kick from 25 yards was superbly saved by goalkeeper Artur Boruc in the 25th minute.
While Southampton tried in their own capacity to open up Liverpool’s back four, Luke Shaw was in hand to get a timely tackle on Victor Moses at the other end, after forward Aspas had released the Nigerian.
The hosts had a penalty appeal fall into referee Neil Swarbrick’s deaf ears when Daniel Sturridge fell under Lovren’s challenge, with less than ten minutes before the interval.
The ever lively Moses again had an opportunity to place Liverpool in the ascendancy when he nutmegged Jose Fonte down the left through on goal, but his bit-of-a-poke effort was turned away by Boruc.
The beginning of the second-half signaled the start of Liverpool’s defensive frailties when Simon Mignolet had to be alert to deny Adam Lallana’s effort after Agger gave the ball away.
Southampton’s goal came in the 53rd minute when Lovren wrestled free off Agger to nod past Mignolet from a corner kick.
The visitors almost increased the goal tally when Luke Shaw, helped by a couple of ricochet, broke through the home defence to produce an impressive save from Mignolet, 8 minutes after the hour mark.
Mignolet also replicated a similar effort when the ball rebounded off Mamadou Sakho, he punched away the loose ball before Southampton’s Steven Davis could get to it.
Liverpool got desperate but the visitors chose to sit back and batter down hatches in the final ten minutes of the game, holding on to a second league win of the season.
Rodgers however expressed delight about the return of Luis Suarez, who has now served out his ten-match ban, saying: “That is the positive from today as he has now served his ban and we can bring someone as good as him.
In the other Premier League Games played on Saturday;
Norwich 0-1 Aston Villa
Liverpool 0- 1 Southampton
Newcastle 2-3 Hull City
West Brom 3- 0 Sunderland
West Ham 2- 3 Everton
Chelsea 2- 0 Fulham