Liverpool 0-1 Southampton Player Ratings: Superb Stephens

saints

Long settles it late on – bbc.co.uk

A strong defensive display helped Southampton to a 1-0 win at Anfield, completing a 2-0 aggregate victory over a one-dimensional Liverpool side. The Saints have reached Wembley – but which players stood out?

Liverpool

Loris Karius – one crucial save from Tadic. Could not be faulted too much for the goal. 6

Trent Alexander-Arnold – frequently caught out by the pace of Redmond in the first half and lacked confidence in his forward play. 2
Joel Matip – used his physicality to good effect at times. Stopped Long getting possession in the second half until his injury-time goal, which was down to inevitable gaps rather than centre-back faults. 7
Dejan Lovren – he often pushed into the opposing half which had it’s risks, but was worth doing in an attempt to sustain pressure. Criticism of Lovren on tonight’s performance alone is grossly unfair. 7
James Milner – in this type of game, Liverpool’s full-backs had to contribute in attack. Some woeful deliveries from dead ball situations and in open play. May be no coincidence that the right-footer’s best cross of the evening came when he was on the right. 2

Emre Can – some decent covering work, but passed sideways for most of the first half and lacked confidence in possession. More adventurous after the break with a few over-the-top balls and a shot that Forster nearly spilled over the line. 4
Jordan Henderson – competitive out of possession, his one attacking contribution coming in a second half cross for Sturridge. The issue was not that Can or Henderson played badly, but that the roles they carried out were too similar. 5
Adam Lallana – won the ball in the opposing half a couple of times. Not at his creative best, but found some decent positions in a period shortly after the interval. 4
Philippe Coutinho – one of the few to change the tempo and direction of play in the first half with searching passes that weren’t capitalized on by Sturridge and Firmino. Should have made contact with the latter’s second half cross. 5

Roberto Firmino – anonymous for much of the contest. Liverpool rely on him to produce more quality in the final third. 3
Daniel Sturridge – closed the opposing defence down in a tactical sense, yet lacked the extra bit of pace and bite to win the ball and truly strike fear. When his two big chances came, he spurned them. 3

Divock Origi (on 78) – had a limited impact, though he could have won a penalty off Stephens. 4
Georginio Wijnaldum (on 87)

Southampton

Fraser Forster – made a superb save from ‘himself’. Looked to have spilled Can’s long range shot over the line, but twisted his hand in a way that scooped the ball both away from goal and over Sturridge’s lurking head. 6

Cédric Soares – did not get forward with the regularity he did against Leicester and was rarely tested defensively by Milner or a Liverpool attacker. 5
Maya Yoshida – could have won a penalty in the first half, but did not claim. Defended with great intelligence. 8
Jack Stephens – made some towering defensive headers and despite limited experience, competed superbly with some of the best forwards around. 9
Ryan Bertrand – supported Redmond well in the first half with some impressive overlapping runs, which decreased in regularity in the second half due to defensive priorities. 8

Oriol Romeu – at his best. The perfect blend of aggression and tactical intelligence. Like his partners, he was forced further back in the second half when Liverpool applied the pressure. 7
James Ward-Prowse – disciplined but never retreated. No coincidence that Liverpool’s best five minute spell came just after he left the field. 8
Steven Davis – pressed surprisingly high up the pitch, particularly in the latter stages of the first half. Blazed the ball over the bar from Redmond’s pull-back. 7

Dušan Tadić – did not offer the same pace on the counter as Redmond, meaning Southampton rarely used his side of the pitch. Forced a good save from Karius. 3
Nathan Redmond – used his pace to get beyond Alexander-Arnold on numerous occasions in the first half, before breaking from more central positions later on. Showed good intelligence to create two good first half chances in the space of three minutes. 9
Jay Rodriguez – taken off after a quiet first half. 4

Shane Long (on 45) – Matip and Lovren dominated him until his injury-time goal that put the game to bed. 5
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (on 59) – often the type to dictate play from the middle of the pitch. Perhaps not his sort of game. 4
Josh Sims (on 81) used his pace to counter with a winding run in the latter stages and set up Long. 7