Liverpool temporarily set aside its penchant for champagne soccer, and that’s A-OK with Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers credited Liverpool’s defense for its 2-0 win over Southampton on Sunday, according to Sky Sports. The Reds’ overall performance in the rain-soaked Premier League game might not have satisfied those who prefer style over substance, but their stout defense led them to an important win over their rivals for a top-four finish.
“We defended absolutely magnificently,” Rodgers said. “Our passing could have been better, but the conditions were very difficult and to come here and get a clean sheet was a great effort.
“I thought we were really organized as a team and controlled the game as it went on. It was an outstanding win for us. It is difficult to come here and get a result at any time of the season, but on the back of a European game it is a brilliant win by the players.”
Philippe Coutinho gave Liverpool an early lead with a stunning long-range goal. Southampton largely outplayed the Reds for the next 70 minutes, controlling possession and creating more scoring chances than the visitors.
But Liverpool thwarted all of Southampton’s attacking efforts. Center back Martin Skrtel and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet were particularly impressive.
Liverpool now has shut out its last five opponents in Premier League road games — something it has not managed to do since 1985. It’s a far cry from the end of last season and the beginning of this season when the Reds were leaking goals at an alarming rate.
“It was something (defending) we knew we had to improve,” Rodgers said. “At the beginning of the season we could not quite get the offensive and defensive balance right in the team. But now there is.”
Thumbnail photo via Tim Ireland/Associated Press
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