Southampton 0 Liverpool 2 (Half-time 0-1)

The bottom line at St Mary's was that Liverpool stretched their unbeaten run to ten matches, to take a much needed victory in their pursuit of the top four places in the Premier League. The sub plot was that they had to ride their luck as the home side appealed in vain for at least two penalty decisions, as the slippery underfoot conditions perhaps played a part in the referee's mind, giving defenders the benefit of the doubt when on another day he may well have pointed to the spot. There was also what looked like a handball from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, as he attempted to charge down a goal bound lob when on the very edge of his area.

That too went unpunished, much to the Saints chagrin as Kevin Friend swiftly made enemies among the Southampton locals.

Liverpool started with two players in their line-up who moved up from the south coast during the summer months, as Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren returned to their old stomping ground. As they may have expected, the home fans were not too supportive of their ex-players, especially the Croatian, who was insistent on a move away from the club. Philippe Coutinho found a way to at least partially silence them, when he lashed in an exquisite right-foot dipping shop off the underside of the bar on 3 minutes.

Saints stormed back on the attack and had two penalty appeals turned down in quick succession.

Emre Can probably deserved the benefit of the doubt as Fillip Djuricic seemed to go down easily under his slight challenge. The unpopular Lovren adding fuel to the fans' rage by his involvement in the second, as Djuricic was again challenged strongly in the box firstly by Joe Allen and then the Croatian. The ball looked to strike Lovren on the arm from a corner before the interval as well, although that looked like more of a case of ball on to hand than vice versa.

If that wasn't bad enough for home spectators, there also looked to be a handball from Mignolet outside the box, as the ball bounced up off his chest on to his hand. Again the referee was lenient with the Belgian keeper. Liverpool could counter with a penalty appeal that was turned down for them in the box, when Raheem Sterling was challenged by Jose Fonte, but it seemed that there would be no spot kick given by the referee on the day.

Daniel Sturridge had looked bright when introduced from the bench during the second-half, representing a different challenge as the spearhead up front, to allow Raheem Sterling to move a little deeper and find more space as a result. The plan worked perfectly on 73 minutes as the ball fell invitingly to Sterling in the box, after Saints' defenders failed to clear the ball, and he gleefully accepted to slot the second goal home via a slight deflection past Fraser Forster.

Saints were looking a little tired by the end of the match, after toiling with no tangible reward and could find no way back into the game. The defeat leaves them 5th in the league, a point behind Manchester United (who lost at Swansea) and two behind Arsenal (who defeated Crystal Palace). The Merseyside club are up to sixth, just a point behind the Saints now.