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Emglish League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg, St Mary's, Southampton
Southampton Wed 11th Jan - 19:45pm Liverpool


Half Time 1:0

Match Report

Liverpool must overturn a 1-0 deficit at Anfield if they are to reach the EFL Cup final after Southampton claimed a narrow victory in tonight’s last-four first leg at St Mary’s.

Nathan Redmond’s 20th-minute goal proved the difference in a closely-fought contest on the south coast.

Neither side created much in the way of clear goalscoring opportunities as, in a similar story to the Premier League meeting here in November, Southampton’s defensive organisation frustrated the Reds.

Philippe Coutinho’s return from injury as a second-half substitute represents a welcome boost for Jürgen Klopp, though, with the German’s team now requiring a second-leg comeback if they are to progress to face either Manchester United or Hull City at Wembley next month.

The key points

• Redmond’s low finish gives Southampton the lead.

• Loris Karius makes a fine save to prevent Redmond from making it 2-0 late in the first half.

• Liverpool struggle to create chances against a well-drilled Saints outfit, with Roberto Firmino registering their only two shots on target throughout the game.

• Coutinho looks bright after coming on in place of Georginio Wijnaldum on the hour.

The team news

Klopp made eight changes to the side that faced Plymouth Argyle on Sunday, with Daniel Sturridge, Firmino and Adam Lallana among those players coming back into the starting line-up.

Coutinho, meanwhile, returned to the squad for the first time since late November and came off the bench in the 61st minute.

The first half

Firmino had the game’s first attempt in the 18th minute, when he collected Lallana’s cushioned knoc-down and forced Fraser Forster into a save with a left-footed snap-shot.

But the Saints went ahead soon after, as Jay Rodriguez capitalised on an under-hit pass from Ragnar Klavan to feed Redmond, who slotted beyond Karius from 12 yards.

Redmond had a great chance to double the Saints’ advantage shortly before the interval from Dusan Tadic’s cutback, but Karius denied him with an excellent reaction stop.

The second half

After an attritional start to the second period, Liverpool showed signs of recovery around the hour mark when Lallana and Firmino both had efforts from the edge of the area.

Klopp then looked to his bench for inspiration in the form of Coutinho, who came on to a rapturous reception from the away end.

The Brazilian’s offered an immediate reminder of his class by jinking past two defenders and winning a corner, but Southampton countered quickly from that set-piece, with Cedric Soares firing into the side-netting.

Coutinho curled a long-range shot over the bar with 12 minutes remaining, before Klopp introduced Divock Origi in a final attempt to force an equaliser.

But it was Southampton who went closest to scoring in the closing stages when Redmond lifted a dinked effort off the underside of the crossbar.