English Premiership

Liverpool sink Saints

2015-02-22 20:28
Philippe Coutinho (AFP)

Cape Town - Liverpool survived three penalty appeals to boost their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League with a contentious 2-0 win at Southampton on Sunday.

Brendan Rodgers' side moved up to sixth place, within two points of fourth-placed Manchester United, as goals from Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling secured their sixth win in their last seven matches in all competitions.

But fifth-placed Southampton had reason to feel aggrieved after a trio of penalty claims were turned down in the first half, starting in the opening moments when Emre Can tugged at Filip Djuricic.

Coutinho responded by lashing Liverpool into a third-minute lead with a brilliant long-range strike that streaked into the top corner for the Brazilian midfielder's first league goal since November.

Djuricic's second penalty appeal came when he appeared to be fouled by Joe Allen, but again referee Kevin Friend ignored his appeals.

Then Can handled in the penalty area as he tried to control before clearing a cross, yet once more Friend waved play on.

Liverpool took advantage of more good fortune to seal the points in the 73rd minute when Southampton's Matt Targett slipped while trying to clear and the ball fell perfectly for Sterling to slot a deflected shot past Fraser Forster. 

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