Liverpool-Southampton Live: Reds Win Tough Premier League Opener

Liverpool overlayFinal, 2-1 Liverpool: It’s over at Anfield. Liverpool defeats Southampton in a hard-fought contest.

Liverpool’s Premier League season is off to a winning start, but it wasn’t easy. Liverpool sprinted ahead through Sterling, but Southampton reversed the tide, scored a deserved tying goal and impressed throughout the second half. The Saints’ resurgence prompted Rodgers to make a pair of changes, which changed the balance and led to Sturridge’s game winner. Southampton nearly tied it again, but Mignolet saved Schneiderlin’s blast, and Long wasted a golden opportunity to score an important goal on his debut.

Liverpool performed well for much of the game, but Southampton’s collective improvement in the second half unsettled the Reds. Koeman must have given a great halftime talk, because Southampton showed impetus and seized momentum from the opening whistle in the second half. Rodgers response — tweaking the formation and personnel — had the desired effect, and Liverpool’s superior individual quality and winning mentality ultimately was the difference.

Sterling was outstanding throughout, Manquillo had an impressive debut and Mignolet made a number of timely saves.

Liverpool takes three points from its opener, and the performance can serve as a sturdy foundation on which the Reds can build going forward.

Liverpool’s next game is next Monday when it visits Manchester City in a meeting of last season’s chief title contenders.

That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.

90th minute +4, 2-1 Liverpool: Liverpool has carried play into Southampton’s half in second-half stoppage time, and it looks like the Reds will pull this one out.

90th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: There will be a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time in the second half.

88th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Schneiderlin fires a shot on goal from 10 yards out, but Mignolet makes a glancing save, and it rattles the crossbar. Goal-line technology tells that it was not a goal.

The rebound then fell to Long, but the Southampton striker headed it wide.

86th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Ward-Prowse collects a chest pass inside the Liverpool penalty area and shoots on goal, but it goes straight to Mignolet.

82nd minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Isgrove comes on for Davis, as Southampton makes another substitution.

79th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Sturridge scores, and Liverpool re-takes the lead.

Wanyama failed to clear a cross. It fell inside the penalty area to Sterling, who headed forward to Sturridge. The Liverpool striker then beat Forster from point-blank range.

78th minute, 1-1: Gerrard delivers a free kick to the Southampton goal-mouth, but Lovren and Skrtel can’t reach it, and Forster gathers it.

78th minute, 1-1: Davis is cautioned.

76th minute, 1-1: Lambert replaces Coutinho.

Both sets of fans applaud Lambert warmly. Lambert spent a number of fruitful years at Southampton before transferring to Liverpool — his boyhood club — this summer.

76th minute, 1-1: Henderson drags a shot wide of Forster’s goal from distance.

74th minute, 1-1: Tadic’s game is over, as Koeman replaces him with Long. Tadic had an impressive debut.

68th minute, 1-1: Tadic’s influence on the game is growing, as he causes more havoc in Liverpool’s half.

The Serbian carved an opening for Clyne, whose shot was blocked. It then fell to Davis, but Liverpool’s defenders intervened at the last moment.

66th minute, 1-1: Schneiderlin is cautioned for barreling into Coutinho from behind.

63rd minute, 1-1: Allen replaces Lucas, as Rodgers makes a change to Liverpool’s midfield.

63rd minute, 1-1: Southampton creates a scoring chance on the counter-attack.

Tadic found Davis in the penalty area, but the Southampton midfielder couldn’t beat Mignolet with a side-footed shot.

61st minute, 1-1: Coutinho bumps into Fonte inside the Southampton penalty area and wants a penalty kick, but the referee declines the Brazilian’s appeal.

60th minute, 1-1: Southampton is enjoying the predictable boost from the goal.

The Saints put the Reds under pressure after Clyne’s goal, winning a corner kick. Mignolet batted Ward-Prowse delivery away, but it fell to Davis, who shot high.

56th minute, 1-1: Clyne scores, and Southampton is rewarded for its bright start to the second half.

It came from a give-and-go between Clyne, who passed to Tadic on the right. Tadic then back-heeled a pass onto Clyne’s run, despite Lovren’s pressure. Clyne then beat Mignolet with a powerful shot to the near post.

54th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sterling fires a shot well over the crossbar from 35 yards out. The Liverpool goal scorer had other options.

50th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Southampton is the more assertive team in the early minutes of the second half. The Saints are pressing higher up the field and causing Liverpool a few problems in its own half.

46th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The second half is underway.

Liverpool formed a habit of taking the lead at Anfield and holding onto it last season. We’ll see if the Reds’ new-look defense can meet the standard.

Halftime, 1-0 Liverpool: That’s the end of the first half. Liverpool leads by one.

The Reds take a deserved lead into the dressing room after a professional, albeit not overly impressive, display in the first 45 minutes. Henderson had a moment of inspiration and delivered a perfect, 50-yard pass, which Sterling finished with aplomb.

The structure and philosophy that returned Liverpool to the elite last season was on clear display in the first half. Liverpool pressed to win the ball back and broke forward with speed. A quick transition led to Sterling’s goal as well as other dangerous moments.

Southampton started slowly but grew into the game after around a half hour. Ward-Prowse is full of confidence and Wanyama, who has a game-high six tackles so far, has been forceful in the midfield.

Check out some first-half stats.

45th minute +2, 1-0 Liverpool: Sterling tests Forster with a long-range shot, but the Southampton goalkeeper punches it into the air.

45th minute +1, 1-0 Liverpool: Schneiderlin forces Mignolet to make a save, after teeing up a shot from 25 yards out.

45th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: There will be a minimum of two minutes of added time in the first half.

43rd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Southampton is showing some attacking ambition, as the first half nears its end. Ward-Prowse continues to be dangerous going forward.

40th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Ward-Prowse shoots on goal from distance, but Mignolet collects this one easily.

38th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Forster’s mis-hit clearance goes to Gerrard, but the LFC captain can’t control it and catch the Southampton goalkeeper off his line.

35th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The swirling wind carries Ward-Prowse’s free kick toward the top corner of Mignolet’s goal. The Liverpool goalkeeper bats it away instead of catching it.

Mignolet fell into the post as he made the save. That had to be painful.

34th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Manquillo is cautioned for a challenge on Tadic.

Tadic is causing a few problems on the left side of Southampton’s attack.

32nd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The Reds enjoyed a lengthy stretch of games in which they scored last season. The trend is carrying into the new campaign.

30th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Wanyama is down after an innocent-looking collision with Henderson.

The Kenyan midfielder receives some treatment and re-enters the game.

28th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The Reds seemed to have gained confidence from the goal, as they look to keep the pressure on Southampton and add to their lead.

The Reds’ passing tempo has increased since Sterling struck, as has the intensity of their pressure without the ball.

Johnson fires a shot high.

23rd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sterling races behind the defense, slots a shot past Forster, and Liverpool is in front.

Henderson won the ball in the midfielder and provided the killer pass from the halfway line, finding Sterling’s run into the penalty area.

Sterling then finished with great composure.

22nd minute, 0-0: There’s a nervous moment in Liverpool’s penalty area, as Johnson fails to clear a corner kick with a header, and Mignolet can’t punch it clear either.

Pelle was standing in the way, and Mignolet couldn’t climb over the big striker. The ball fell to the ground for Mignolet to collect.

21st minute, 0-0: Sterling drives a left-footed shot on goal from outside the penalty area, but it goes right into Forster’s stomach.

20th minute, 0-0: Twenty minutes have passed, and Liverpool is looking good so far.

The Reds are passing with confidence and authority against the well-organized Saints. When Southampton has the ball, the Reds are pressing with determination and winning it back quickly.

14th minute, 0-0: Moments later, Johnson scuffs a left-footed shot high and wide.

14th minute, 0-0: Sturridge dribbles at Southampton’s defense, and Yoshida appears to trip him a foot outside of the penalty area. Sturridge and the Liverpool fans wanted a penalty kick, but the referee, says “no.”

Ninth minute, 0-0: Gerrard’s corner kick deflects off Skrtel in the goal mouth and reaches Forster, who collects it on the goal line.

Seventh minute, 0-0: Sturridge hits a powerful left-footed shot toward Forster’s goal from 25 yards out, but it sails narrowly wide.

Liverpool is dominating possession in the early stages, and the early minutes have been played almost entirely in Southampton’s half.

Fourth minute, 0-0: Liverpool has controlled possession early on, and Bertrand brings down Manquillo with a hard foul to break up the Reds’ flow.

Kickoff: The Liverpool-Southampton Premier League game is underway.

8:15 a.m. ET: Here are the lineups:

Liverpool

Simon Mignolet (22), goalkeeper
Glen Johnson (2), left back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Dejan Lovren (6), center back
Javier Manquillo (19), right back
Steven Gerrard (8), midfielder
Lucas Leiva (21), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Raheem Sterling (31), forward
Philippe Coutinho (10), forward
Daniel Sturridge (15), striker

Substitutes

Brad Jones (1), goalkeeper
Kolo Toure (4), defender
Mamadou Sakho (17), defender
Joe Allen (24), midfielder
Emre Can (23), midfielder
Jordon Ibe (33), forward
Rickie Lambert (9), striker

Southampton

Fraser Forster (23), goalkeeper
Nathaniel Clyne (2), right back
Jose Fonte (6), center back
Maya Yoshida (3), center back
Ryan Bertrand (21), right back
Victor Wanyama (12), midfielder
Morgan Schneiderlin (4), midfielder
James Ward-Prowse (16), midfielder
Steven Davis (8), midfielder
Dusan Tadic (11), forward
Graziono Pelle (19), striker

Substitutes

Kelvin Davis (1), goalkeeper
Jos Hooiveld (26), defender
Jack Stephens (35), defender
Saphir Taider (17), midfielder
Jack Cork (18), midfielder
Lloyd Isgrove (27), forward
Shane Long (7), striker

8 a.m. ET: It’s time for Liverpool to go again.

The Reds kick off their 2014-15 season Sunday when they face Southampton in a Premier League game at Anfield.

Liverpool enjoyed its best domestic season since 2009 when it finished runner-up to Manchester City last season. Manager Brendan Rodgers, captain Steven Gerrard and the other Reds look to go one better and win England’s top flight for the first time since 1990.

Liverpool sold Luis Suarez, the Premier League’s player of the season in 2013-14, to Barcelona in the offseason. The Reds hope to offset the loss of its leading goal scorer by strengthening other areas of the team. Liverpool added eight new players this summer, and many of them could feature against Southampton.

After last season’s eighth-place finish, Southampton endured a difficult summer. Manager Mauricio Pochettino left the club, and a number of leading players were sold, including Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, who joined Liverpool. Many expect new boss Ronald Koeman to have a tough season, and his maiden campaign in the Premier League starts with a daunting visit to Anfield.

The game kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Join us right here for all the action from Anfield.

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