Sunday, 2 December 2012

Liverpool's Defeat of Southampton Hides Lack of Brendan Rodgers Cure


Brendan Rodgers can expect another email from his bosses this morning – a routine he is quickly growing to hate.

The Liverpool boss recently revealed he tends to find a message sat at the top of his inbox when the Reds struggle.

In it, the owners from across the Atlantic urge him to keep his chin up – or more probably, to continue 'whopping up some craziness".

They hope the messages of support will give Rodgers confidence his job is safe.

But with every new email, Rodgers heart must sink because it means his Liverpool team are still miles away from figuring out his style of play.

He was expecting to have them zipping the ball around the pitch by now.

He was planning on sitting back in his Anfield hot seat talking about he's brought back the Liverpool way at this stage of the season.

He was certain, that by the time they got to 15 games in to the Premier League season, the Reds would be dismissing weak teams like Southampton with ease rather than plundering a 1-0 victory.

But this was another shabby performance by his men with the return of Lucas the only high point.

Daniel Agger saved the day with a smartly taken headed goal from Glen Johnson's cross.

But that goal should have been followed by so many more. Despite facing a south-coast team showing ineptness in every department they failed to convince.

Chance after chance was created, not by stylish play, but by bulldozing through a slack defence.

But apart from Agger's effort, none were taken.

The post did deny Jonjo Shelvey in the first half when Paulo Gazzaniga was well beaten in the Saints goal.

And the bar stopped Luis Suarez scoring from a free-kick seconds before Agger netted.

But their complete dominance was unable to turn up many more clearcut chances.

A timely Maya Yoshida tackle denied Suarez an open goal and Shelvey was similarly robbed of the ball when racing clear by Jose Fonte.

But Joe Allen went missing and Steven Gerrard was surprisingly wayward with his passing at times, both contributing factors to Liverpool's failure to put Saints to the sword.

And while it may seem churlish to hammer a team celebrating three points, they won't be any more free gifts like this again.

Rodgers said: “The game should have been put to bed well before it was.

I thought we were outstanding in the first half. It was just throughout the game it was that little bit of luck or the final ball.

We should have been out of sight.”

Liverpool have picked up just two wins in their last six games and now they need to follow this with victory at Chelsea's conquerors West Ham.

And they will have to do without Luis Suarez, booked for the fifth time for trying to punch a Gerrard shot into the net.

Rodgers said: “I didn't see it and when I do I will make a better comment.

But from what you've saying, I don't think he was cheating.”

Southampton had little to offer. Gazzaniga put his midweek horror show, where he let an equaliser in 1-1 draw with Norwich bounce under him, behind him.

But Saints were miles off the pace and their Premier League future look bleak if this all they can offer.

Boss Nigel Adkins said: “We are disappointed we haven't got anything from the game. We came away with a good run of form of late.

But Liverpool's movement was good. If we could have got to half time without conceding a goal it would have been pleasing.

The free header in the box for their goal was disappointing though.

We didn't have the amount of possession we normally do and that is a credit to Liverpool.

We had to to play on the counter attack until the last 15 minutes and then tried to press late on.”

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