02/12/2015: Saints 1-6 Liverpool
Saints were humiliatingly dumped out of the League Cup by a resurgent Liverpool side. The hosts looked bright in the early going, but were almost out of the game completely by half-time. Ronald Koeman threw caution to the wind in the second-half, but the changes backfired, with Liverpool destroying Saints on the counter.
Saints made an explosive start to the game. The team pressed intensely and moved the ball forward quickly. The home side made it 1-0 after just 39 seconds. Dusan Tadic worked the ball well on the left before cutting it back to Ryan Bertrand. He crossed to the six yard box for Sadio Mane to head into the bottom of the net.
Saints maintained a high tempo during the next 10 minutes. Victor Wanyama had a good chance to make it 2-0 on 5, heading straight at Adam Bogdan from Tadic's cross. A few minutes later Steven Davis curled the ball wide. Liverpool then gained control of the ball, patiently building at first. Gradually they looked more and more threatening and on 25 they made their dominance count. Steven Caulker misjudged Joe Allen's ball over the top, before the ball came out to Daniel Sturridge on the left of the box. He took a few touches before shooting low into the corner of the net.
Saints were unable to regain control of the ball during the remainder of the first-half. Liverpool were finding gaps in the attacking third, and by 29 the away side had the lead. A brilliant side-footed pass from Emre Can played in Sturridge on the left once again. The England striker finished with one touch through the grasp of Stekelenburg's gloves. Saints offered very little threat going forward, as the team began to lose shape all over the pitch. Liverpool made it 3-1 just before half-time. Adam Lallana's corner came all the way out to Alberto Moreno on the edge of the box. He hammered the ball towards goal, with Divock Origi getting the slightest touches on the ball before it went in.
Koeman decided to go for it in the second-half, switching to three at the back. Wanyama moved back into defence, with Cedric and Bertrand pushing on as wing-backs. Saints did make an ok start and looked slightly more positive as a result. Graziano Pelle attempted to hook the ball past Bogdan from a difficult angle on 50. Mane then had a shot blocked after being played in by Pelle. Substitute Shane Long missed a good chance on 64, heading wide from Tadic's cross.
Saints soon ran out of steam going forward. Liverpool always looked like they had control of the game and on 68 they put the tie to bed. Origi smashed the ball into the roof of the net after latching on to Jordan Ibe's through ball. Ibe grabbed himself a goal on 73 after chesting the ball down and smashing into the near post from Moreno's cross. Liverpool completed the rout on 86. Brad Smith took on Caulker on the left before crossing into the centre for Origi to head in. Can could have added another in stoppage time, outpacing Oriol Romeu on the right before shooting straight at Stekelenburg.
Another embarrassing cup exit. Saints were poorly organised throughout and the performance was littered with individual errors. Koeman was right to throw everything at it at half-time, but the lack of cohesion and a clear strategy proved costly. Liverpool have been completely rejuvenated under Jurgen Klopp, but even so the manner of the performance and result was completely unacceptable. Jose Fonte's leadership qualities were sorely missed. The defence was all over the place. Worryingly it was almost Saints' best available line-up. Our squad is considerably weaker than it was last season as the result of an awful summer transfer window. Another one like that and the club is heading further down the table.
Stekelenburg: 3. Could have done better for at least a few of the goals conceded. Never looks like making a decent save
Cedric: 4. Got caught out of position on several occasions. Work with the ball not much better either
Caulker: 3. Showed absolutely no positional awareness and read the game poorly
Van Dijk: 5. Unable to steady the ship at the back
Bertrand: 6. Made some explosive forward runs and combined well with Tadic in the first-half
Wanyama: 5. Just about acceptable in spells, but overall a shadow of the player he was last season
Clasie: 5. Made a few big tackles early on, but went missing for the majority of the match
Mane: 6. Looked tricky on the occasions he got the ball in Liverpool's half and a decent finish for the goal
Davis: 5. Involved in a few good attacking moves early on, but mostly ineffective
Tadic: 6. Caused problems for Liverpool's right-back in the early going. Worked hard throughout
Pelle: 5. One of his more quiet games. Didn't win enough in the air
Long: 5. Made little impact
Ward-Prowse: 5. As with Long, didn't do a lot
Romeu: Looked just as lost as the rest of the midfield
Saints: Mane (1)
Liverpool: Sturridge (25, 29) Origi (45, 68, 86) Ibe (73)
Attendance: 31,592 (3,151 Liverpool fans)
Referee: Robert Madley
Saints line-up: Stekelenburg, Cedric, Caulker, van Dijk, Bertrand, Wanyama, Clasie, Mane, S Davis, Tadic, Pelle
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Yoshida, Martina, Juanmi
Liverpool line-up: Bogdan, Randall, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno (Smith 77), Allen (Henderson 74), Lucas, Can, Sturridge (Ibe 59), Lallana, Origi
Subs not used: Mignolet, Milner, Benteke, Firmino