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March 2, 2014
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 31659
L. Suárez 16'
R. Sterling 58'
S. Gerrard 90'+
Well, that's all from our LIVE coverage of events at St Mary's. Liverpool fans will go home very happy. I hope you've enjoyed the action today, and we hope to see you again soon!
Manchester City aren't playing this weekend because of the Capital One Cup final, so it's been a very good day for the top two. With Suarez netting for the first time in five games, it's all looking rather rosy for the Reds.
Liverpool sit four points behind leaders Chelsea, level on points with Arsenal but ahead of the Gunners on goal difference. Surely they must be considered serious title contenders?
That's FULL TIME at St Mary's as Liverpool run out 3-0 winners against a Southampton side who dominated much of the game. It's a big, big win for the Reds, who move to second in the Premier League.
90' + 5'
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GERRARD MAKES IT THREE!! The Liverpool skipper steps up and slots the penalty right into the top corner, giving Boruc absolutely no chance. Icing on the cake for Rodgers' men.
90' + 4'
PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL!! Suarez twists and turns, showing lovely feet to turn past Fonte, who tugs back the striker. Suarez goes down, and the spot kick is awarded.
90' + 2'
Ramirez concedes a free kick just inside the Liverpool half. The hosts are in no rush to take it, but Agger eventually plays it short to Gerrard in the middle.
90' + 1'
Johnson floats a high ball into the Southampton half but it just goes out of play, and the hosts have a chance to try and get at least a consolation goal.
Ramirez is caught in possession by Henderson, who drives forward before looking for Sterling in the box, but his pass is behind the winger and Southampton clear as we enter four minutes of stoppage time.
Most of the play is still inside the Liverpool half but Shaw loses out as Gerrard closes the youngster down, forcing a throw for the Reds.
Chambers plays the ball forward to Gallagher, but Johnson quickly closes him down to win possession back for the visitors.
Southampton's possession is mostly in front of Liverpool now, as they're struggling to create anything. Lallana has been much quieter in this half and that's stifled their creativity.
Yellow Card Steven Gerrard
Lallana is cleaned out by Gerrard as he tries to turn in midfield, and the Liverpool skipper rightly enters the book. Not long left now, and it looks like the result is all but confirmed.
Iago Aspas is coming on for Liverpool as Sturridge is withdrawn. The striker couldn't make it nine successive games with a goal, then, but he'll be very happy with the scoreline nonetheless.
Yellow Card Victor Wanyama
Wanyama goes into the book as he slides straight through Suarez in midfield. The substitute hasn't exactly made the best impact since coming on.
Lovren fires a diagonal ball towards Ramirez but Johnson cuts it out easily and the visitors have a chance to keep possession to wind down the clock.
Southampton have a chance with a free kick in midfield. Fonte is up for the hosts, as is Lovren, and Ramirez fires it towards the former at the far post, but he can only glance it behind for a goal kick.
Flanagan concedes a cheap corner but Mignolet averts any danger with a superb punch, which has plenty of distance on it. The chances have dried up for Southampton, who are rapidly running out of time.
Into the final 10 minutes, and Chambers does really well to dispossess Suarez before showing some fine skill to get away. Johnson recovers well, though, and forces the ball out of play for a throw near halfway.
Shaw charges into the Liverpool half before playing out wide to Rodriguez, who cuts inside and tries a shot from the edge of the box, but he gets it all wrong and it slices out for a goal kick.
Wanyama is caught out by Sterling in midfield and ends up fouling the Liverpool man. Not the best introduction to the game, really.
Pochettino has decided to use up his substitutions, bringing on Sam Gallacher for Lambert, while Victor Wanyama replaces Cork in midfield. Under 15 minutes to go at St Mary's - can the hosts get anything from this game?
There's some serious Liverpool pressure now, and Suarez is in again as he beats the offside trap before dragging a shot well wide of the far post.
SUAREZ!! The striker almost scores from the corner as he fires it in at pace, and Boruc is almost caught off guard but manages to parry it behind for another corner.
GERRARD!! Boruc is called into action as the Liverpool captain finds space in the Southampton half before drilling a 25-yard effort at goal. It skips low towards the corner but Boruc does well to turn it around the post.
SUAREZ!! AND HENDERSON!! Fonte is caught in possession by Suarez, who charges into the box but wastes his chance to shoot. He tries to cross for Sturridge but it's too hard and comes out the other side. The ball is rapidly played back in to Henderson, who skies his effort from just inside the area.
Gerrard is first to a loose ball in midfield, and fires a long ball over the top straight away. Suarez sprints to get on the end of it but gives up the chase as Boruc comes out to take possession.
Yellow Card Jordan Henderson
Henderson picks up the first caution of the game as he stops Shaw in his tracks with a cynical foul to stop the hosts' momentum going forward.
STURRIDGE!! Suarez breaks down the right-hand side and move in towards the box, slotting the ball through for Sturridge. The striker rounds Boruc but is forced wide, and he tries something that is not a cross or a shot and Southampton survive the danger.
Excellent work from Gerrard, who sticks close to Lallana before producing a perfectly timed challenge to slide in and put the ball out.
Liverpool win a throw on the halfway line and, unsurprisingly, no-one's in a rush to take it. Johnson eventually strides forward and gets play back underway, but Southampton quickly press to win possession once more.
With 20 minutes of the second half gone it's very much "as you were" in terms of momentum, but Liverpool are the ones who have taken their chances. What else have Pochettino's men got in reserve?
Johnson shanks a clearance and gives the ball straight to Chambers, who finds Ramirez. The substitute plays into Lambert but his touch is loose and Liverpool can clear.
Rodriguez is nearly in after good work by Lallana, but the England international slips and Agger gets the ball back for Liverpool.
Great defending by Gerrard, who watches play well before cutting out Rodriguez's low cross at the near post. The Liverpool captain has been quiet by his standards, but is overseeing proceedings with real authority.
The Liverpool fans are making all the noise inside St Mary's now. Southampton still have possession, though, and will keep probing Liverpool's defence.
Chance for Southampton as Allen concedes a free kick inside his own half. Ramirez swings it in deep but neither Fonte nor Lambert can get a meaningful touch on it at the far post, and it goes behind for a goal kick.
That is so, so harsh on Southampton, who have been well in this game and probably the better side. Liverpool's ruthlessness in front of goal has paid real dividends for Rodgers' men, though.
Assist Luis Suárez
Goal Raheem Sterling
STERLING DOUBLES THE LEAD!! It's a hammer blow from the substitute as Gerrard slides a wonderful pass through for Suarez, who turns brilliantly past Lovren and darts into the area. The striker looks up and picks his pass, squaring to Sterling who slots it under Boruc with his first touch of the game.
That will be Coutinho's last contribution to the game as Sterling comes on to replace the Brazilian. This will add a further threat of pace for the visitors, who aren't seeing much of the ball.
More vital defending from Lovren, who stops Suarez in his tracks after the striker had exchanged passes superbly with Coutinho before moving into the box. Coutinho's delivery from the resulting corner is poor, and it goes straight out for a goal kick.
Henderson exchanges passes with Coutinho on the right before firing in a fast cross, but Lovren dives towards the ball to head it out for a throw to the visitors.
Ramirez gives away a free kick inside the centre circle and Liverpool can alleviate some of the pressure. The substitute has been a superb introduction to the game so far, though.
Liverpool look content to allow Southampton to come at them and hit on the break. Coutinho plays a delightful ball over the top looking for Sturridge, but Fonte watches it really well and gets control of possession.
Ramirez charges through the midfield but feels the full force of a hefty challenge from Johnson, who does well to get the ball clear. Southampton come back, though, as Rodriguez looks for Lallana behind the defence, but Agger comes across well to see the ball out for a goal kick.
It's been a bright start to the half from Pochettino's men, who have started where they left off the first half. Liverpool try to create something of their own, though, but Suarez's early floated ball is easily claimed by Boruc in the air.
Raheem Sterling looks like he's getting ready to come on for Liverpool. That could help visitors pen Southampton back more than they're doing at the moment.
Lambert loses the ball and Sturridge comes forward, moving into the box from the right-hand side before going down theatrically under Lovren's challenge. Nothing is given and the hosts counter as Lallana fires a tame shot straight at Mignolet from 25 yards.
Lallana plays a lovely ball beyond the defence for Rodriguez, who shows real strength to barge Flanagan off the ball, but his curling shot is easily blocked by Skrtel.
Ramirez is involved straight away, seeing a rocket of a shot blocked from 25 yards before working hard to win the ball back. Lambert then forces a corner off Skrtel, which Fonte flicks on but Johnson hammers it clear at the far post.
We're back underway at St Mary's as Southampton get the ball rolling for the second half. Gaston Ramirez is on for the hosts as he replaces Davis, adding further firepower in attack.
Stick with us for all the action from the south coast, with the second half set to start in a few minutes' time. Can Southampton find an equaliser or will Liverpool earn victory to go second?
The problem for the Saints, though, is the visitors' threat on the counter. They've got plenty of ammunition on the bench, and the likes of Raheem Sterling could cause some real problems.
Liverpool may score a hatful of goals, but they've also shipped a fair few at the other end. Southampton will feel they can beat this defence if things continue as they are.
It's HALF TIME at St Mary's and Liverpool take a 1-0 lead into the changing room. Southampton were the better side after the goal, though, and Pochettino will be encouraged by everything but the scoreline.
45' + 2'
Schneiderlin gives away a free kick as he clips Flanagan in midfield. The visitors take it quickly and Suarez tries to slip a pass in behind for Coutinho, but it's cut out by Fonte.
45' + 1'
Liverpool are keeping the ball at the back as they try to stay in front at the break, but Southampton are pressing well. Gerrard creates some space in midfield and spreads wide to Flanagan as the visitors look to move forward.
Rodriguez concedes a free kick inside the Liverpool half for going in late on Agger, as the board goes up for two minutes of injury time at the end of the half.
Sturridge drops deep to collect the ball and holds off two challenges before passing back to Agger. Henderson moves across to the right and Flanagan looks for him with a ball over the top, but it's not good enough and goes out for a throw.
RODRIGUEZ!! Shaw sets a move going with a magnificent driving run before drilling the ball low across the box. Lambert steps over the ball and leaves it for Rodriguez, whose shot is superbly saved low at the near post by Mignolet.
Liverpool again lose out in midfield as Rodriguez charges in to win the ball, but his pass towards Lambert in the box is poor and rolls out to Flanagan on the right-hand side.
Desperate defending from Liverpool as Chambers fires in another dangerous cross. It's half-cleared and the hosts knock it around as they look for space to shoot, but Lambert is thwarted as Agger gets the ball away.
Johnson looks for Suarez but his pass is inaccurate and Fonte is able to easily cut it out. The hosts quickly move up the other end and Skrtel is forced to make a fine challenge to stop Rodriguez on the edge of the box.
We're rapidly approaching half time at St Mary's, and the hosts are the better side at the moment, despite being behind. They'll be desperate to restore parity before the break.
SCHNEIDERLIN!! The hosts have dominated possession in the last 10 minutes, and have the ball once more as Lallana finds some space in between the lines. He gives it to Chambers, who fires it into the box. Lallana leaves it and Schneiderlin takes a touch before hammering the ball over the bar. Another good chance.
SUAREZ!! Sturridge works really hard to keep the ball in play out wide, and darts towards the box before drilling it back for Suarez, who fires a first-time half-volley at goal, but it's straight at Boruc.
Henderson gives the ball away and Southampton move forward once more. Davis loses out, though, and Liverpool set a counter going. Lovren does well to read a pass intended for Suarez and manages to hack the ball away.
Rodriguez moves out wide once more and goes up against Agger before overhitting a cross, and the visitors have a goal kick. Liverpool are having to weather a real barrage of pressure from the hosts, here.
RODRIGUEZ!! Southampton are really on top now and Lallana produces a wonderful first-time pass to find Lambert, who plays the ball into the path of Rodriguez. The forward tries a cheeky chip over Mignolet from the edge of the box, but it floats over the bar.
LALLANA AGAIN!! The atmosphere is building at St Mary's as the fans can sense the momentum change. Shaw is again involved, getting in behind Flanagan and pulling back to Lallana. It's just behind the midfielder, though, and his volley goes wide of the post.
OFF THE POST!! Rodriguez swings in a wonderful cross from the right and Lambert's knock down for Lallana is equally good. The Saints captain struggles to get it out from under his feet but prods it past Mignolet, only to see it come back off the upright.
Johnson has the ball on the left but completely runs out of options before Rodriguez closes him down, forcing the ball out of play for a throw, prompting much applause from the fans for that pressure.
Rodriguez is on the end of the corner, meeting it at the penalty spot but completely shanking his volley, and Liverpool are able to get the ball away.
Shaw finds Lallana with a superb pass into midfield. It's quickly spread wide to Chambers on the other flank, but his low cross is blocked to give the hosts a corner.
Pochettino's men are enjoying much more possession and Liverpool seem happy to soak up the pressure, attacking on the counter whenever they can. It's all being played in the middle at the moment, though, as it's very congested.
Liverpool win possession in midfield and try to set a quick attack going as Suarez lifts it over the top for Sturridge, who tries to guide the ball into the path of Henderson, but it doesn't quite come off as there's not enough on the touch, and Southampton have the ball.
LAMBERT!! Great chance for the hosts as Shaw again gets forward along the left flank. He chooses to play the ball low towards the edge of the box this time, and Lambert meets it with a first-time effort but blazes it way over the crossbar.
Lallana does well to bring down a loose ball in midfield and play wide to Rodriguez. The forward's pass inside is cut out but Schneiderlin quickly wins it back.
The early sting of this game has fizzled out somewhat. Southampton have the ball at the back and set things going down the right through Davis, but his attempted diagonal ball is nowhere near Lambert and goes out for a goal kick.
Henderson lifts the ball over the top for Sturridge, who is focussing most of his play down the right. The striker moves towards the box but Lovren comes across and slides in to put the ball out for a throw.
It's a disappointing effort from the set piece as Suarez bends it over the wall but also well over Boruc's goal. That's a let-off for the hosts.
Real chance for Liverpool here as Cork brings down Suarez just outside the penalty area. The striker is lining this one up from the edge of the D...
Shaw receives the ball out wide but is immediately closed down by Henderson, who poaches the ball and sets an attack going. Allen produces an excellent run towards the area but he ends up in a sea of red shirts and loses the ball.
There's a swagger about Liverpool's passing now, and they look buoyed by that Suarez goal. Plenty of time left in this one, though.
Flanagan advances down the right flank, and has plenty of space to line up a cross, but his early ball looking for Suarez isn't accurate enough and Southampton regain possession.
Southampton just looked like they were growing in confidence, so that goal could not have come at a worse time from their point of view.
Goal Luis Suárez
SUAREZ OPENS THE SCORING!! He is back!! The visitors win a throw and Suarez darts inside before squaring to Sturridge. The England man loses control but eventually manages to work it into the box for the unmarked Suarez, who coolly slots the ball past Boruc into the bottom corner.
Johnson looks to play the ball inside from the left but it's cut out by Fonte, who quickly spreads play wide to Shaw. He then finds Lambert, who sets Lallana away with a lovely ball over the top. The Saints captain tries a cross but it evades Rodriguez and goes out the other side of the box.
Penalty? Lallana exchanges passes with Davis before being barged off the ball by Flanagan right inside the box. The hosts want a spot kick but the referee sees it as a legal shoulder charge and waves play on.
Shaw gets into a good position down the left-hand side, but squanders the opportunity as his cross goes straight out of play for a goal kick to the visitors.
The visitors are just starting to control the tempo now. Skrtel launches the bal high for Suarez, but Chambers watches it well to head clear and find Lallana.
Shaw is back on the field as Liverpool keep the ball at the back. It's been a frantic opening 10 minutes, and Fonte's interception has kept things level.
Shaw is down in a heap after going in for a header with Flanagan. The Liverpool defender's arm was slightly high and catches Shaw, who is receiving treatment.
Suarez fires it towards Sturridge at the near post, and the ball loops high into the air back to Coutinho, whose first-time volley skips well wide of goal.
Liverpool win a second corner but Cork gets it clear. The visitors come straight back, though, and Sturridge wins another corner on the right-hand side.
GREAT DEFENDING!! Sturridge gets his first run in behind the Southampton defence, latching on to a high ball and charging into the area from the right. Instead of shooting he plays it beyond Boruc for Suarez to tap in, but Fonte slides in brilliantly to put it behind for a corner.
Rodriguez drifts wide to collect a pass and comes out on top when challenging Skrtel, but the attack breaks down and Liverpool can muster up their own attack.
Coutinho produces a loose touch out wide, and Southampton have a throw inside their own half. Lallana comes forward before laying off to Shaw, whose deflected cross is eventually hacked clear by Agger.
Allen collects the ball in midfield and his floated ball for Sturridge is cut out by Lovren. The defender gives it back straight away, though, and Sturridge looks to play an aerial pass for Suarez, but Lovren is there again to head away.
Shaw gives it straight to Gerrard in midfield, but Schneiderlin helps the hosts recover, cutting out one pass before blocking a second to put it out for a throw.
Good work early on from Lallana, who turns superbly on the left-hand side before squaring into Lambert, but the striker loses possession. Suarez is set away early at the other end up Fonte reads the play well to close the Uruguayan down.
We're underway in Southampton as the visitors get the game started.
The players march out of the tunnel at St Mary's, and we're just a few minutes away from kick-off. This promises to be a fascinating, fast-paced encounter on the south coast.
There's a massive incentive for the visitors this afternoon, as well. Arsenal's defeat at Stoke means that a win for the Reds will move them up to second in the Premier League table. So, should their target be the top four, or the title?
Liverpool are dangerous though, especially in front of goal. Rodgers' men are top scorers in the league with 70 goals, and form man Daniel Sturridge has netted in eight consecutive top-flight games.
The Saints will fancy their chances this evening, as they’ve beaten the Reds three times in a row at St Mary’s in the Premier League, with four wins in their last five league meetings here.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have brought Joe Allen into midfield in place of Raheem Sterling as Brendan Rodgers looks to keep things tight in the middle of the park. It looks like a fluid front three today, with Philippe Coutinho given a free role behind Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
The spotlight will likely be on Luke Shaw today as the young full-back was called up to the England squad for the first time. Victor Wanyama, meanwhile, makes the Southampton bench after being revealed as a doubt, but Jos Hooiveld misses out with an eye injury.
Liverpool subs: Jones, Toure, Cissokho, Moses, Aspas, Sterling, Teixeira.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Flanagan; Gerrard, Allen, Henderson; Coutinho, Sturridge, Suarez.
Southampton subs: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Ramírez, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Gallagher.
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Boruc; Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Cork; Lallana, Davis, Rodriguez; Lambert.
The teams have been announced so let’s not mess about. Here are the line-ups, starting with Mauricio Pochettino’s men...
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage from St Mary's as Southampton host free-scoring Liverpool in Saturday's late Premier League kick-off.
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