I’m not a huge Premier League fan; I prefer my sport a little more cerebral than blood and thunder, but both of these sides were eminently watchable last year, and both have had enough of a change over the summer to make this almost unmissable. I’m continually excited by Raheem Sterling’s progress, and equally, continually vexed by the fact Glen Johnson keeps his spot in Liverpool’s team. Graziano Pelle, the Lecce Primavera player of old, was also set to feature – I mention him now because he barely featured in the game.
So What Happened? Playing to type, really. Liverpool went off like a train, ripping Southampton apart a few times early doors before a glorious Jordan Henderson ball put through Sterling, who kept his composure well enough to trickle the ball into the net. As so often last season, that seemed to burn Liverpool out, and the Saints got back into the game almost immediately, pressing and pressing and working the ball well though couldn’t get anything before half time.
It took them until just before the hour to get the reward, a rather lovely back-heel from Dusan Tadic (who was lively during the first half, quieter in the second) went to Nathaniel Clyne, who lashed the equaliser home. Rather splendidly, that changed the game again, the introduction of Joe Allen giving Liverpool more impetus that delivered a goal a few minutes after Rickie Lambert had come on – it was not Lambert who got it, rather Daniel Sturridge; the Plan A biting Southampton after they figured Plan B was in operation.
From thereon in, the Reds looked pretty comfortable except for an extended period of pressure that saw Mignolet deflect (ever so slightly) a Schneiderlin shot onto the crossbar before Shane Long put the resultant header unbelievably wide. 2-1, then. Plus ça change, plus le meme chose.
Entertainment Value? 7/10