Liverpool are the mildly surprising leaders of the Premier League and they can continue that mild surprise with the win that would guarantee them top spot regardless of what anyone else does this weekend. Jonjo Shelvey definitely won’t be playing for Southampton which means the Reds will have to find someone else to hand them their gilt-edged chances.
The Saints have made a decent start to the new season, but having said that, they haven’t won a league match since the opening day of the season and haven’t found the net in their last two outings. Rickie Lambert seems to be saving all his goals up for England duty.
I’ll be here to keep you up to date on all the latest happenings from the match and if I have the time, maybe some updates from all the other 3pm kick-offs. So if you’re out and about, away from a TV or would rather live your life free of the opinions of Paul Merson, then this is the place for you.
Liverpool 0 – 1 Southampton
Newcastle United 2 – 3 Hull City
West Bromwich Albion 3 – 0 Sunderland
West Ham United 2 – 3 Everton
4.52pm: FULL TIME! Southampton hang on with minimal drama. It was an immensely disappointing display for Liverpool who were missing Coutinho and Suarez, but still should be able to create more from the talent at their disposal. Their unbeaten start to the season comes to an end and there’ll be a lot of relief that Suarez is returning.
4.51pm: 3-0 West Brom.
4.47pm: (SHOULDA BEEN A) CHANCE! Raheem Sterling gets played in with a ball over the top. He’s bearing down on goal, but his first touch is distinctly donkey-like and he kicks it out over the end line.
There will be three minutes of added time.
4.46pm: SUB! Despite still getting plenty of chances, Southampton look to shut up shop. Rodriguez comes off and Jack Cork replaces him.
4.41pm: Lukaku has scored for Everton to give them the lead late on at Upton Park. It also looks like he’s been knocked out for his trouble. Nope, he’s up and about now, but it still looked painful.
4.38pm: Liverpool are seeing lots of the ball, but creating nothing clear-cut. At the other end, they look vulnerable at the back. Nathaniel Clyne gets booked for time-wasting, which he was.
Everton have leveled things up with West Ham again and Baines has scored a peach of a free-kick again.
4.34pm: Hull Wild Tigers have scored against Newcastle to make it 3-2 and West Brom are now 2-0 against Sunderland, pushing Paolo Di Canio closer to unemployment. It’s Aluko and Ridgewell respectively.
4.33pm: SUB! This time it’s Southampton who make a switch. Lallana comes off and eight year old, James Ward-Prowse comes on.
4.32pm: West Ham 2-1 up against Everton. Mark Noble from the penalty spot.
4.29pm: SUB! Another centre-back makes way. Skrtel goes off and new boy, Luis Alberto takes his place. It’s Rodgers’ last roll of the dice and if Liverpool are going down, they’re going down swinging.
4.24pm: Davis has only been on for a matter of seconds, but Mignolet pulls off a stunning triple save to deny Davis first, then a Toure OG and then Luke Shaw!
Liverpool go up the other end and Sterling tries to tee up Sturridge but the Southampton defender swings out a leg to cut out the cross.
4.23pm: SUB! Saints take a step towards the defensive. Rickie Lambert comes off and Steven Davis comes on.
4.18pm: Everton equalise at West Ham. Baines with an absolute screamer of a free-kick from about 30 yards out!
4.16pm: SAVE! Another Steven Gerrard free-kick and another save from the Pole in the goals. Gerrard blasts the free-kick low to the keeper’s left, but he gets behind it and the rebound avoids the on-rushing Liverpool players, most notably, Toure.
4.14pm: SUB! Operation Centre Backs Everywhere is over. Daniel Agger comes off and and Jose Enrique takes his place.
4.10pm: GOAL! 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON. Lovren puts the Saints ahead. Liverpool’s array of central defenders seem to be taking turns to look massively uncomfortable on the ball. A couple of errors lead to a Southampton corner and from the set piece, he gets his head on the cross and Stevie G on the line can’t keep it out.
Seconds later, Osvaldo carves out a chance that forces a full stretch save from Mignolet.
4.06pm: Hull Wild Tigers have equalised against Newcastle. Elmohamady with the goal.
4.04pm: Mignolet almost gets caught in possession. He doesn’t but Southampton create a great chance from another Liverpool player losing the ball close to his own goal and the goalkeeper gets the blame. The Belgian actually makes a good save to keep his sheet clean.
4.02pm: SUB! Raheem Sterling comes on for Liverpool and Iago Aspas comes off. The Reds start the second half and attack the Kop.
3.53pm: John Barnes is doing the punditry in the Setanta studio. He might be doing some perfectly good analysis, but every time he opens his mouth I’m hoping he’s about to launch into an impromptu version of Rapper’s Delight.
3.45pm: Sturridge gets a head onto a Gerrard cross but it’s a bit loopy and goes over the crossbar. Not far over the crossbar, but enough that the Holy Goalie doesn’t need to say a decade of the rosary to keep it out.
3.44pm: Loic Remy gets his second and Newcastle take the lead for a second time. Joe Kinnear also takes the chance to look extra smug for a second time.
3.42pm: Liverpool are coming more and more into the game and Southampton’s Osvaldo is starting to get a bit pissed off with the lack of service he’s getting:
3.36pm: Great play from Victor Moses. He cuts in from the Liverpool left, closes in on goal and Boruc beats away his chipped attempt at goal.
3.34pm: Luke Shaw looks to be the latest top quality left back coming off the Southampton production line. It’s surely only a matter of time before Real Madrid bid £428 million for him. Before that, there’s the small matter of this game and he’s doing pretty well so far.
3.32pm: Penalty appeal for Liverpool and it looks like a decent shout. Daniel Sturridge gets clipped just inside the penalty area, kind of falls/kind of stays up and that indecision seems to be enough to give the referee an out.
3.31pm: West Ham take the lead against Everton. Ravel Morrison stays out of trouble long enough to score with a deflected effort.
3.27pm: Robbie Brady has scored for Hull. And Tom Huddlestone’s hair looks amazing.
3.26pm: There’s a half chance for Rickie Lambert about 7 yards out from the Liverpool goal. It’s actually much better than a half-chance it turns out thanks to some hesitant Liverpool defending.
3.24pm: Sincere apologies. Liverpool have upped it a gear and this is far more interesting than an episode of The One Show – even that one when Patrick Kielty accidentally gave out Christine Bleakney’s phone number.
3.23pm: Stephane Sessegnon got the goal for the Baggies BTW.
3.21pm: CRACKING SAVE! Artur Boruc pulls off a cracking one handed save to keep a Steven Gerrard free-kick out. Stevie hits it from about 25 yards out and was going in, but a full stretch Boruc gets a hand to it.
Actually, upon second viewing, it was quite central and it now looks a bit like Boruc made a meal of it.
3.19pm: West Brom have scored. I can’t see who got the goal.
3.18pm: Again it’s the Saints who press and just as it looks like they’re about to create a chance one of Liverpool’s 14 centre-backs gets a leg out to stop the attack.
3.15pm: Southampton are seeing more of the ball now, but haven’t created much with it. After a bright start, it’s now duller than an episode of The One Show.
3.10pm: Remy has scored for Newcastle. Joe Kinnear suddenly gets slightly more smug.
3.09pm: Sakho is the centre back nominated to play at left back and Kolo Toure is right back if that’s the type of information that floats your boat.
3.05pm: Lucas has a shot from about 25 yards out but it instantly reminds us why he’s not playing up front and trickles through to Boruc.
3.03pm: Good chance for Liverpool. Their first attack of the game presents a decent opening for Jordan Henderson on the edge of the box. Seemingly forgetting that Daniel Sturridge has scored in every game he’s played so far this season, Henderson takes the ball off his team-mate’s toe and chips a weak shot straight at Artur Boruc.
3pm: Southampton – wearing kits like an early 2000s trendy referee kit – kick-off. Liverpool attack the Anfield Road end in the first half.
2.56pm: Both teams are out on the pitch and the players are going through their obligatory heart-felt handshakes.
2.38pm: Aston Villa have just beaten Norwich 1-0 and Chris Hughton looks like someone took a dump in his fashionable loafers.
2.34pm: I had a look in the record books to see when Southampton last won at Anfield in the hope of uncovering some really obscure and crap pop song from the past that was number one at the time. Sadly, it was only around 10 years and three visits ago and Will Young topped the charts with this little ditty which Luis Suarez probably had on repeat over the course of the summer:
2.31pm: Here’s a random picture of Steven Gerrard shaking hands with Adam Lallana in a dress rehearsal of what the captains will do when they meet for the coin toss. Never knew they needed to practice that.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) September 21, 2013
2.14pm: TEAM NEWS TIME!
Yes, it’s that time of the afternoon when we get overly excited about mandatory footballing bureaucracy – the teams are in. Ignore my cynicism because it’s actually quite interesting as Brendan Rodgers seems to have named four recognised centre backs in his back four. A couple of them have occasionally played full back, so we’ll see how it pans out. The goalscorers from Monday night both start, but without the injured Coutinho and inept Shelvey, it’s hard to know who’ll provide the chances.
Mignolet, Toure, Sakho, Agger, Skrtel, Lucas, Henderson, Gerrard, Aspas, Moses, Sturridge
Mauricio Pochettino has named something apporaching his strongest available line-up. Luke Shaw starts after some injury doubts and Gaston Ramirez starts with a spot of warming the bench.
Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert, Osvaldo
2.11pm: We spoke to Andy Gray about this weekend’s Premier League matches and he spoke back to us. Although not about the Liverpool v Southampton match bizarrely. Anyhoo, given some of his tipping, that may not be a bad thing. Here’s his view of some of today’s other matches and here’s the Liverpool v Southampton betting if you fancy going it alone. Trust me, that may not be the worst of ideas.
2.09pm: This is the last game of
Hannibal Lector’s Luis Suarez ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic and if they successfully negotiate this match, the spell without the Uruguayan will have gone better than most expectations would have predicted. Except for all those hissy fits he threw about wanting to leave the club.