Southampton 0 Liverpool 2: Three talking points

Three talking points as Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling seal a 2-0 victory at St Mary's

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Coutinho needs to score more

One of the chief criticisms aimed at Philippe Coutinho has been his lack of goals over the past season-and-a-half. The Liverpool playmaker has scored just nine times in 61 appearances in all competitions, which is a disappointing return. This season, the Brazil international has often proven a magician in the Liverpool midfield, providing some much-needed South American flair following Luis Suarez’s summer departure. But although Coutinho has created chances for his team-mates, the 22-year-old hasn’t chipped in with enough goals. However, since signing a new five-and-a-half year deal with the Reds earlier this month, Coutinho has scored twice in six games. Both were long-range strikes and four of his last 11 Premier League goals have come from outside the opposition’s penalty area. Those stats suggest Coutinho needs to get into the box more if he wants to blossom into a goal-scoring midfielder.

Lallana and Lovren return to St Mary’s

While it was a surprise that Adam Lallana received a frosty reception at St Mary’s, Dejan Lovren must have anticipated a hostile welcome. If so, the Croatia international wasn’t disappointed as the jeers rung out every time the centre-half touched the ball. It was a surprise Brendan Rodgers didn’t turn to Alberto Moreno or Kolo Toure in the absence of Mamadou Sakho. Lovren is already suffering from a crisis of confidence after a miserable start to his Liverpool career following his controversial £20m switch from Southampton in the summer. So it was no surprise that Lovren lacked composure on and off the ball against his former club, unwisely diving into challenges on a rain-soaked playing surface at St Mary’s. He was booked after one reckless tackle too many on James Ward-Prowse, while the former Lyon man was fortunate not to concede a penalty for a handball or a clumsy challenge on Filip Djurcic. Adam Lallana didn’t fare much better, racking up a total of 30 touches during a 61-minute run-out. As it stands, Southampton were the real winners with their bank balance inflated by £45m following Lallana and Lovren’s summer deals.

Koeman to appear on Goals on Monday?

Ronald Koeman was being touted as the next guest on Goals on Sunday following Jose Mourinho’s surprise appearance on the football highlights show on Sunday morning. Unlike Mourinho, Koeman rarely bristles in his post-match interviews, regardless of results. We haven’t seen the Dutch coach’s spiky side apart from after the League Cup defeat at Sheffield United. But Koeman would be within his rights to have a moan, like Mourinho, after referee Kevin Friend rivalled his colleague Martin Atkinson’s performance at Stamford Bridge. Emre Can wasn’t punished after colliding with Djurcic in the first minute, although Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Thierry Henry ruled in the referee’s favour on that occasion. However, Allen was lucky to avoid punishment after he caught the Serbian in the penalty area. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who has earned comparisons to Manuel Neuer in recent months for venturing out of his area, raced off his line to clear a long ball heading into the path of Eljero Eli, questionably using his hand. Moments later, Lovren was lucky to not concede a spot-kick after the ball glanced off his hand, too. With a strict referee, Liverpool could have been down to nine men and 2-1 down at half-time. Instead, the Reds led 1-0 at half-time before Raheem Sterling cemented three points with a 73rd-minute strike, sealing a professional performance from the Red men.

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