Southampton ends Liverpool's unbeaten start
LIVERPOOL, England (AP)
Southampton ended Liverpool's unbeaten start to the English Premier League, with Dejan Lovren clinching a 1-0 victory at Anfield on Saturday.
The Croatia defender headed in the winner from Adam Lallana's corner in the 54th minute to end Liverpool's 12-match unbeaten league run spanning this season and last.
''Over 90 minutes we were superior to them and were able to capitalize on the chances we created,'' Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino said. ''(Goalkeeper Artur) Boruc was outstanding but the rest of the squad were outstanding. It is not easy to come here and win, so to do that makes us really pleased.''
This was Liverpool's final match before striker Luis Suarez returns after a 10-game ban for biting an opponent.
The Uruguay international is in line to return on Wednesday in the League Cup against Manchester United.
''Sometimes players like him can make the difference so it is going to be great to have him back and a real boost to have him back from Wednesday onwards,'' Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. ''I think he is in good condition. He has been playing games behind closed doors and doing a lot of specific work with the conditioning team.
''He is not going to be 100 percent but he is a worker and a fighter and his condition is good. He just needs to get games to bring him up to speed.''
Rodgers was unhappy with a lackluster performance against Southampton, which led to the top spot being surrendered provisionally to Chelsea after the London club beat Fulham 2-0.
''This is our first defeat since March, funnily enough against Southampton,'' Rodgers said. ''We've had two poor performances against them and it's cost us.
''We are very disappointed. We never got going from the off, it was a bit lethargic, and technically we were short.''
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard tested Boruc with a first-half free kick and Daniel Sturridge should have had a penalty when caught by Lovren.
But the Reds did not create nearly enough to trouble the visitors.
Rodgers put out a back four consisting of four central defenders but he justified the decision by claiming he had little option - although it provided little help when it came to the goal.
''We have to keep an eye on Jose Enrique's knee and avoid an overload or it can put him out long term,'' Rodgers said. ''It was what we had available. Kolo (Toure) and Mamadou (Sakho) have played at full-back: You lose a bit of that offensive threat but I think they coped as well as they possibly could.
''We conceded possession poorly (for the goal) and then we ended up conceding the corner, and to lose a goal like that with so many defensive-minded players was criminal really.''