English Premiership

Liverpool edge Southampton

2012-12-01 19:24
Daniel Agger (AFP)

Liverpool - Daniel Agger's first goal of the season earned stuttering Liverpool a 1-0 win at home to promoted Southampton on Saturday, giving the Reds just their second English Premier League victory in seven matches.

Agger struck three minutes before half-time to clinch only a fourth win of the campaign for Brendan Rodgers's men, as the Reds bounced back from Wednesday's 2-1 reverse at Tottenham.

Liverpool, whose eight-match unbeaten run in the league was snapped following that midweek defeat, climbed one spot to 11th in the table, while Southampton remained mired in the relegation zone after their first loss in five outings.

Lucas Leiva's return to the Liverpool midfield was a welcome sight following the Brazilian's three-month lay-off with a thigh injury, and the home side went close to taking the lead inside 10 minutes as Glen Johnson's close-range effort travelled just wide.

Saints defender Luke Shaw made a crucial interview to deny Steven Gerrard, while Luis Suarez stung the palms of Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.

Liverpool continued to mount the pressure on the visitors as Jonjo Shelvey saw his blistering drive rattle the woodwork before the home side finally took a deserved lead on 42 minutes.

After Suarez's 25-yard free-kick crashed against the crossbar, Johnson controlled the rebound, floating in a cross that was headed brilliantly into the top corner by Agger.

Rickie Lambert forced Pepe Reina into a sprawling with a speculative effort from all of 40 yards moments later in what represented a rare opportunity for Southampton.

Jose Enrique then squandered a chance to double the hosts' advantage midway through the second period, shooting just past the far post after clever link-up play with Suarez.

The tireless Uruguayan also missed a late chance to add to his league-leading tally of 10 goals, steering wide with just Gazzaniga to beat.

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