Southampton were just better, admits Liverpool’s Stewart Downing
Stewart Downing admits Liverpool were beaten by the better team after Southampton's impressive win at St Mary's on Saturday
Stewart Downing admitted Liverpool were beaten by the better team after Southampton dealt a blow to the Reds’ hopes of European qualification with victory at St Mary’s.
The Saints took the lead inside when Morgan Schneiderlin out-muscled Martin Skrtel and slotted his finish calmly past Brad Jones.
And Mauricio Pochettino’s men doubled their advantage midway through the first half courtesy of Rickie Lambert’s deflected free-kick.
January signing Philippe Coutinho halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time to offer the Merseysiders hope of a comeback – but Jay Rodriguez secured a valuable three points for the home side in the 80th minute.
“We just didn’t start brightly enough,” Downing told Liverpool’s website after the game.
“The manager said we didn’t start playing until we were 2-0 down. He stressed from the start that this was a difficult game, probably one of the hardest of the season.
“They are scrapping for their lives and, to be fair, they were the better team on the day. You’ve got to give them credit for that. We started too late.”
Liverpool now trail fifth-placed Arsenal by five points and have played a game more than the Gunners.