x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

End of Luis Suarez’s ban only positive in defeat for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers admitted Liverpool delivered a poor performance and missed the suspended Luis Suarez as Dejan Lovren headed Southampton to victory at Anfield.

Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana, right competes with Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva. Paul Ellis / AFP
Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana, right competes with Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva. Paul Ellis / AFP

LIVERPOOL 0

SOUTHAMPTON 1

Dejan Lovren 53’

LIVERPOOL // Brendan Rodgers admitted Liverpool delivered a poor performance and missed the suspended Luis Suarez as Dejan Lovren headed Southampton to victory at Anfield.

Suarez yesterday served the last of his 10-game ban that carried over from the end of last season for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and Liverpool fell to a first defeat in his absence.

“Sometimes players like him who are magical can make the difference in games like this,” Rodgers said. “The big positive from today is the fact he is back and the ban is finished.”

Suarez will be eligible to play at Manchester United in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup match.

“He has been playing games behind closed doors and doing specific work with the conditioning team,” Rodgers said. “He’s a worker and a fighter and he just needs to get games to bring him up to full speed.”

Rodgers accepted the result and the display against Southampton were equally unsatisfactory.

“Both were very disappointing. We never got going from the off,” he said.

“It was a bit lethargic.

“Technically, we were short and we looked flat and slow in our game. We just have to put it down as one of those days.”

He was critical of his defence, which featured four central defenders, for Lovren’s winner, which came as Liverpool failed to defend an Adam Lallana corner.

“We gave away a really poor goal,” Rodgers said. “To lose a goal like that was criminal.”

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino praised Lovren and in-form goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

“Our performance was outstanding,” said the Argentine, with yesterday’s victory only the team’s second in their past 11 matches.

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