Mar 16, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
Schneiderlin (6'), Rodriguez (80'), Lambert (33')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Coutinho (45')
Suárez (90')

Live Commentary: Southampton 3-1 Liverpool - as it happened

Live Commentary: Southampton 3-1 Liverpool - as it happened
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text commentary of Southampton's Premier League clash with in-form Liverpool this afternoon.

Southampton took one step closer to Premier League survival by beating Liverpool 3-1 at St Mary's this afternoon.

Morgan Schneiderlin gave the Saints an early lead before Rickie Lambert made it 2-0 with a deflected free kick from range.

Phillippe Coutinho pulled one back for the visitors right on the stroke of half time, but a fine solo effort from Jay Rodriguez sealed all three points for Southampton.

You can read how it all unfolded with Sports Mole's play-by-play coverage below.

2pmGood afternoon! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what could prove to be a pivotal match in both the relegation battle and the race for Champions League spots as Southampton take on Liverpool.

2.02pmLet's start by looking at the hosts today. They have managed to get themselves in a relatively comfortable position compared to some of the teams below them. They are four points clear of the bottom three and would move seven points clear with a win this afternoon.

2.04pmHowever, they are by no means safe. A loss today and a win for any of the bottom three would drag Southampton right back into the mix and, with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur still to play, that could spell danger for the Saints.

2.06pmDespite this, they are in the best position of the sides realistically facing the drop. A win today would bring them up to 31 points which, while still short of the magic 40-point mark, is a good base to push on and secure Premier League survival.

2.08pmSo what about their opponents today? Well, Liverpool are playing just about their best football of the season at the moment and the results are beginning to show it. They have won four matches in a row in all competitions and have begun to put the pressure on the likes of Everton and Arsenal.

2.10pmLast Sunday's 3-2 win over Spurs lifted them above their Merseyside rivals and, depending on Arsenal's result against Swansea today, another win for Liverpool this afternoon could see them leapfrog the Gunners into fifth place.

2.12pmLiverpool's recent form has kept their slim hopes of securing a Champions League place alive too. They are currently seven points off fourth-placed Chelsea so the odds are stacked firmly against them, but they will remain hopeful of a dramatic end to the season.

2.14pmHowever, while a win for the Reds would see them move fifth, a loss could see them drop as far down as eighth depending on results elsewhere. A defeat would also almost certainly end their hopes of a top four finish too, so it is a big game for Liverpool today.

2.16pmTEAM NEWS: Southampton have made just the one change to their side, bringing in Nathaniel Clyne for Jose Fonte. Liverpool, meanwhile, still have Jose Reina out so Brad Jones remains in goal. Martin Skrtel is back in the side ahead of Jamie Carragher, and Joe Allen is also restored to midfield. Full team news coming right up.

2.18pmSOUTHAMPTON STARTING XI: Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana, Ramírez, Rodriguez; Lambert

2.20pmSOUTHAMPTON SUBS: K. Davis, Fonte, S. Davis, Forren, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Puncheon

2.21pmLIVERPOOL STARTING XI: Jones; Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Skrtel; Allen, Gerrard, Downing, Coutinho; Sturridge, Suarez

2.22pmLIVERPOOL SUBS: Gulacsi, Wisdom, Henderson, Shelvey, Lucas, Suso, Ibe

2.24pmNo real surprises from either manager, then. Southampton's dangermen will be Gaston Ramirez, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert, all of whom are more than capable of putting the ball in the back of the net if given the chance. Lambert in particular will try and unsettle a Liverpool defence that has looked shaky at times this season.

2.26pmLiverpool's main threat will, of course, be Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan is the league's top scorer and he has been in scintillating form this season. He must be one of the toughest players to play against as he never gives up and couples that insatiable desire with world-class ability. He is the front runner for player of the year in my book, just holding off Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie.

2.28pmLiverpool have other threats away from Suarez, however. Sturridge and Coutinho have both made brilliant starts to life at Liverpool and Southampton will have to be wary of that duo this afternoon. Steven Gerrard is always a threat as he remains one of the most influential players around, and even Stewart Downing is beginning to find a bit of form.

2.30pmSo, what about each club's form going into this one? Well, Southampton have had a mixed set of results in recent weeks. They followed up a 3-1 win over Manchester City with a 4-2 defeat to Newcastle and a 2-1 home loss to Queens Park Rangers.

2.32pmIn their last 10 matches they have won two, drawn four and lost four. They have not won in their last three matches, since that win over Man City, and another loss today could really drag them in to the relegation battle.

2.34pmLiverpool, on the other hand, are finally starting to find a bit of form having been plagued by inconsistency all season. They have won their last four games, scoring 15 goals in the process, and have now gone over a month without being beaten in the league.

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2.36pmTheir form over the last 10 matches points at a change in fortunes for the Merseyside club. They have won six, drawn two and lost two, a run that has seen them rise to sixth in the Premier League table.

2.38pmThey will, in fact, start this one in seventh as Everton have just recorded a valuable 2-0 victory over Manchester City at Goodison Park. That keeps their slim Champions League hopes alive while surely killing off any chance of Man City launching an unlikely comeback to win the title.

2.40pmThat result will put more pressure on Liverpool today. They have not had a great season, as their league position shows, but they will still be desperate to finish above Everton and not doing so would hurt the red half of Merseyside a lot.

2.42pmSomething in their favour is that their away form has been quite good this season. Liverpool have amassed 18 points from 14 games on their travels so far, which is the sixth-best record in the league. They have won four, drawn six and lost the remaining four away from home.

2.44pmIt's not such good news for Southampton when it comes to their home form however. Theirs is amongst the worst in the league having picked up just 17 points from 14 games in front of their own fans.

2.46pmThe Saints have only won four of those matches at home this season, drawing five and losing the remaining five at St Mary's.

2.48pmLiverpool's Steven Gerrard has spoken of aiming for a perfect end to the season to stand any chance of finishing in the top four, and a win today would certainly make their season look a lot better. They have had plenty of ups and downs throughout it, but they could finish today in fifth place, which must be regarded as a big accomplishment on Brendan Rodgers's part.

2.50pmPREDICTION: Both of these sides can be tough to predict as they are both pretty inconsistent. However, I think Liverpool's recent form is a sign that good things are happening at the club, and I expect that to continue this afternoon. Southampton will be no pushovers, but I'm going for a 2-1 win to Liverpool.

2.52pmJust as inconsistency is the running theme in these two sides' season, so it is in the history in this fixture. Liverpool and Southampton have alternated wins in the last seven meetings, stretching back to 2003.

2.54pmIf that run is to continue today, it would mean a win for Southampton as Liverpool won the reverse fixture earlier this season. The Reds edged out the Saints courtesy of a solitary goal by Daniel Agger.

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2.56pmLiverpool, unsurprisingly, have the overall edge when it comes to this fixture, however. They have won 35 of the 71 meetings between these two sides, while Southampton have emerged victorious on 18 occasions.

2.58pmRight, we're nearing kickoff here at St Mary's. Today could be pivotal in both of these sides' seasons. A win for Southampton could move them out of the relegation battle, while a win for Liverpool would see them keep up their chase for a Champions League spot.

3pmThe players are lined up now and we're just about ready to go.

0 minAnd we're off on a sunny day in Southampton.

1 minLuke Shaw gifts the ball to Suarez, which is something you really don't want to do. He sets up Sturridge, who returns the pass to the Uruguayan before making a run into the box. Suarez tries to find him, but Cork gets back to put it behind for a corner.

3 minSouthampton's first attack comes to nothing as Lambert's cross is cleared away, but it has been a high tempo start from both teams here.

4 minSAVE! Luke Shaw makes space to cross from the left, and his ball finds Ramirez in the middle. The Southampton man goes to ground early but still gets a shot away, which Brad Jones gets down to collect despite a hint of a fumble.

5 minGOAL! Southampton 1-0 Liverpool (Morgan Schneiderlin)

5 minOh that is far too easy for Southampton. Ramirez clips a cross in to Rodriguez, who has peeled off his man at the back post which allows him to cushion a header back into the dangerzone. Morgan Schneiderlin is racing in and picks up the header, poking it past Jones with the outside of his foot. What a start for the hosts!

7 minLiverpool have a slight chance to respond immediately when Downing feeds Agger, who has somehow found his way upfield. The Dane's first touch is much too heavy, however, and the ball runs out for a goal kick.

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9 minSHOT! Liverpool are struggling with Southampton aerial presence at the moment. Another ball into the box causes all sorts of problems and eventually falls to Lallana on the dge of the box, but his strike goes over the bar.

10 minCHANCE! What a chance for Southampton to double their lead! Lambert is released through on goal and he has an age to pick his spot with only Jones to beat. He takes too long if anything and hits it straight at Jones when he really should've have scored. He could have taken it round the Liverpool keeper there. It's all Southampton at the moment!

12 minLiverpool have just stemmed the tide somewhat in the last few moments but they are still struggling to create anything going forward. Suarez hasn't been in the game at all so far.

14 minSHOT! Ramirez goes for goal from range after a number of crosses into the box are cleared away by Liverpool. His effort bounces just in front of Jones, but the Liverpool keeper collects it without too much hassle.

16 minSAVE! It's Rodriguez who goes for goal from range this time. Again the ball falls to a Southampton man after a clearance from the Liverpool defence and Rodriguez lets fly with a first time, low strike. Jones gets down well to save, but he needs two attempts to grab hold of it.

18 minLiverpool just cannot create anything in attack at the moment. Every time they try to find either Suarez or Sturridge the ball comes straight back at them. Southampton have been much the better side so far.

20 minCHANCE! It really should be 2-0 to Southampton! Lallana is released down the left side of the box as Liverpool are cut open yet again. He tries to lift the ball over the onrushing Jones but the Liverpool keeper gets a hand to it. The ball deflects into the path of Rodriguez who, with his back to goal, swivels and shoots but hits it over what was pretty much an open goal.

22 minTop defending by Jose Enrique as he puts a dangerous cross behind for a corner with Ramirez lurking. The corner causes more problems for the Liverpool defence but they eventually scramble it clear. Really unconvincing stuff from the Reds at the moment.

24 minGerrard gets a brilliant touch to release Suarez down the right. He slows the play down before slipping the ball to Downing inside the box, but the winger's return pass is intercepted.

25 minLiverpool are just starting to come into this one in an attacking sense. Enrique swings a good ball into the box, but it lands just between Suarez and Sturridge, allowing Shaw to bundle it back to his keeper.

26 minSuarez thinks he has a chance to race away as Hooiveld slips when trying to chase the Uruguayan, but the linesman flags for a foul against the striker. Suarez is not happy, and the replays suggest that he has a point!

28 minSHOT! Boric finally has some work to do in the Southampton goal, but it isn't too taxing. Sturridge lets fly from distance and gets his effort on target, but it is never going to beat the Southampton keeper.

30 minSome nice work between Downing and Sturridge sees the latter slipped in inside the box and one-on-one with the keeper, but the linesman flags for offside. Sturridge wasn't off, however, so that is another poor decision from the linesman.

31 minSOUTHAMPTON SUB: The hosts are being forced into an early change here as Hooiveld is hurt and won't be able to continue. He is replaced by Jose Fonte.

32 minSkrtel is penalised for coming through the back of Lambert, who picks the ball up and will take the free kick himself. It's some way out but he looks like he'll have a go...

32 minGOAL! Southampton 2-0 Liverpool (Rickie Lambert)

33 minLambert has squeezed it in, but he got a huge helping hand from the Liverpool wall. His free kick is actually pretty poor, but the wall doesn't do it's job and Sturridge turns his back on it and it deflects off him and past Jones, who had no chance. It's a lucky one, but Southampton won't care and, to be fair, they have been good value for the lead.

35 minSouthampton are playing some lovely football at the moment. Lambert is released down the left with a tidy flick, but his cross just eludes Ramirez at the back post.

36 minHalf chance for Liverpool as Sturridge makes his way down the right flank. He drills a low cross into the box where Agger is waiting having made his way up from defence yet again, but Fonte is on hand to clear it behind.

38 minCLOSE! Gerrard uncharacteristically gives the ball away and Southampton immediately look to take advantage. Rodriguez takes the ball down brilliantly and gets a low shot away that skims inches wide of the Liverpool post. So close.

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39 minCHANCE! That's Liverpool's best chance of the match by some way. Johnson plays a ball over the top to Coutinho, who just beats the offside trap and races through on goal. The youngster only has Boruc to beat, but the Southampton keeper gets a foot to the midfielder's poked effort to maintain his side's two goal lead.

41 minHalf chance for Southampton now as Rodriguez rise highest to meet a cross in the box. He just mis-times his leap and, as such, is on his way down as he heads it which means he can't direct it on target.

42 minSHOT! Another little opening for Southampton results in Lallana finding space to shoot inside the Liverpool box. Some brilliant link-up play involving a number of Saints players ends up with the midfielder with the ball in the box, but he drags his shot wide when he should have done better.

44 minGlen Johnson is being booed mercilessly every time he receives the ball due to him being a former Portsmouth player.

45 minWe will have two minutes of added time here.

45 minGOAL! Southampton 2-1 Liverpool (Phillippe Coutinho)

45+1 minJust as Southampton's second goal had a big slice of luck about it, so does this one. Suarez sends a angled ball to Gerrard at the back post and the Liverpool skipper heads it back in. Sturridge holds off his marker before seeing his shot blocked, but the ball pops out to Coutinho who makes no mistake with his finish.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Southampton 2-1 Liverpool

3.51pmThat could prove to be a big goal in this match. Liverpool have not played well at all but that goal will give them a huge boost going into the break. They needed a bit of luck for it but that could be the catalyst for a second-half comeback.

3.53pmThere is no doubt that that half belonged to Southampton, though. They were by far the better team and deserve to be more than just one goal ahead. Their second goal came in fortuitous circumstances, but they had missed two gilt-edge chances to make it 2-0 before that so Liverpool can't say it hadn't been coming.

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3.55pmLiverpool's performance has been far short of what we have become accustomed to in recent weeks. They have been outplayed in pretty much every area of the park and will have to do much better in the second half if they want to come back and continue their winning run.

3.57pmUPDATE: Moving away from St Mary's briefly, it's time to bring you updates of the other scores in the Premier League so far. Villa and QPR are locked at 1-1 in their massive relegation battles, while both Stoke vs. West Brom and Swansea vs. Arsenal remain goalless.

3.59pmBack to Southampton, and both managers will be having very different team talks at half time, I'd imagine.

4pmPochettino will be asking his players for more of the same in the second half. They have played some thrilling football so far in this one and a repeat of that first 45 minutes would surely be enough to see them pick up all three points today.

4.02pmRodgers, meanwhile, must be having some stern words with his players. The late goal would have made his team talk slightly easier but it will not mask the poor performance. Suarez has been anonymous and they need to try to get him into the game more.

4.03pmLIVERPOOL SUB: Rodgers has made a change at the break, bringing on Lucas for Joe Allen.

45 minWe're back underway at St Mary's. Can Liverpool start the second half as they ended the first or will Southampton remain in control?

46 minLiverpool always try to play the ball out from the back under Rodgers but it is almost their undoing there. Johnson attempts to jink his way past two players and loses the ball, but eventually wins it back before finally hoofing it upfield.

48 minThe visitors are looking a little more settled in the early stages of this half. They are controlling possession at the moment and are very much on top.

49 minLiverpool have the ball in the back of the net but it won't count. Coutinho is released over the top but he has made his run too early and the flag is rightly raised. The midfielder puts it in for good measure but he could see right across the line there so will be annoyed that he didn't stay onside.

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52 minRodriguez almost bundles his way through a number of tackles as the ball pinballs around the Liverpool box, but Skrtel eventually halts the forward's progress and clears the danger.

54 minSHOT! Gerrard's corner is cleared back out to him and he pumps the ball back into the box. It is met by a Southampton head but only cleared as far as Sturiddge, who fluffs his effort and the ball bounces harmlessly wide of goal.

55 minSOUTHAMPTON SUB: The Saints make their second change of the match as Steven Davis replaces Ramirez, presumably with the intent of tightening up the midfield.

57 minSuarez so nearly has a chance to level the scores. He beats the offside trap and looks destined to get a toe to the ball and knock it past Boruc, but the ball over the top just skims off the surface, which carries it away from the Liverpool man.

59 minLiverpool have undoubtedly improved in this second half, but they are still yet to show why they are the league's second highest scorers this season. Suarez in particular is not living up to the high standards we have become accustomed to from him.

61 minUPDATE: There has been another goal at Villa Park and it could be a huge one in the relegation battle. Andreas Weimann has put Villa 2-1 up against QPR.

62 minA poor touch from Coutinho results in him fouling Lambert in his haste to try to win it back and Southampton now have a free kick, ending a good spell of possession for Liverpool.

64 minClyne pulls Suarez down when the striker was threatening to break free. Suarez will take this free kick himself, it's from a similar distance to the one that Lambert scored from earlier...

65 minIt's a decent enough effort, on target and bouncing right in front of Boruc which always makes it harder for the keeper, but in the end it was fairly comfortable for Boruc to collect.

66 minClyne and Davis work their way into a crossing position from the right, and the former puts a very dangerous low ball into the box. Skrtel is stretching for it but misses, and Johnson is forced to turn it behind for a corner.

68 minLiverpool aren't contesting any high balls into their box in this match. They seem content to allow Southampton to win the headers, which is a strange, and potentially dangerous, tactic.

70 minWe have 20 minutes left here and, as it stands, Southampton will be picking up a big three points. Can Liverpool do anything to change that in the remaining time?

72 minThe stadium announcer has just let the crowd know that the attendance today is the highest the club has ever had in the Premier League. They picked a good game to come and see!

73 minSouthampton have won everything in the air today, both in attack and defence. This time it is the latter as they clear another corner. Liverpool recycle the ball and Sturridge has a chance to cross, but Boruc collects his attempted ball in.

75 minUPDATES: Two big goals have just gone in that will affect both Southampton and Liverpool. QPR have equalised at Villa Park through Andros Townsend, while Arsenal have broken the deadlock against Swansea courtesy of a Nacho Monreal strike.

76 minSHOT! That sunny Southampton I mentioned earlier has given way to a downpour on the south coast. This has made the pitch slippy, and Gerrard goes over as the ball comes out to him invitingly. He still gets his effort on target, but the fall took all of the venom out of it.

77 minCHANCE! Big chance for Southampton to seal the points! Lallana is released down the left of the box and he only has Jones to beat, but the Liverpool keeper is out quickly and gets a vital hand to the ball, which still squirms towards goal but is cleared away by Skrtel.

79 minGOAL! Southampton 3-1 Liverpool (Jay Rodriguez)

80 minThat is a fine solo effort by Jay Rodriguez, and it may well have sealed the points for the hosts. The forward picked the ball up just inside the Liverpool half and drove straight at the Liverpool defence. No-one puts a tackle in and Rodriguez just waltzes into the box and shoots at goal. His initial effort is saved, but the ball comes back out to him and he rolls the rebound past a helpless Jones. Good goal but Liverpool's defence made that too easy for him.

82 minUPDATE: Aston Villa have regained the lead against QPR! Christian Benteke has got what could prove to be a massive goal in the relegation battle.

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83 minLIVERPOOL SUB: Daniel Sturridge makes way for Liverpool to be replaced by Jordan Henderson as the Reds look to pull of an unlikely comeback in the closing stages here.

84 minSOUTHAMPTON SUB: Southampton will also make a change as Guly do Prado replaces Adam Lallana, who has had a very good game today. He is given a rousing reception.

86 minJohnson whips a ball into the box which deflects out for a corner. Boruc thinks that he has kept it in but the linesman disagrees. Suarez races to get the ball back - he still believes Liverpool can get something out of this game.

88 minThe ball almost ricochets to Davis after Agger headed it straight at Skrtel, but the defender recovered to hook it away. Shaky play by the Liverpool defence.

90 minThere will be a minimum of three added minutes but I fear that it won't be enough for Liverpool.

90 minCHANCE! If Liverpool stood any chance of getting something out of this one then Enrique needed to score there, and he should have. Johnson beats his man down the right and stands an inviting ball to the back post which Enrique meets, but he only finds the side netting with his effort.

90+1 minYELLOW CARD! The first yellow card of the day goes to Luis Suarez, who was trying to prevent Boruc from kick the ball out of his hands by closing him down on the edge of the area. Not quite sure why he's been booked there, he was well within his rights to do that!

90+3 minFULL TIME: Southampton 3-1 Liverpool

4.53pmMauricio Pochettino's second win as Southampton manager is a big one! The Saints run out comfortable winners over Liverpool in the end, with Schneiderlin, Lambert and Rodriguez all scoring in a 3-1 win that lifts them seven points clear of the bottom three.

4.55pmFrom Liverpool's point of view, they can wave goodbye to their Champions League hopes now. Both Arsenal and Everton won today, leaving the Reds seventh in the Premier League table at the end of play. This match was pretty representative of their whole season so far - just as things are starting to look up for the Reds with four wins on the bounce they suffer a big, disappointing setback such as this one.

4.57pmThey can have no complaints about the result either. Southampton were the better side and well worth the win. Liverpool had a couple of good chances but they were few and far between as Luis Suarez had a rare off day.

5pmRight, that's it from me today! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for today's game, and what an important game it could prove to be for Southampton's survival hopes. I will leave you with Mark Langshaw's match report, and be sure to stick around for the match analysis which will be on site within half an hour. You can also stick around for all the news, views and reaction from the rest of today's 3pm kickoffs, of which I'm sure there will be plenty. Goodbye!

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