We're warming up for Liverpool's visit to St Mary's by remembering five classic Southampton victories over the Reds…
All five goals came inside the first 45 minutes of a thriller at The Dell, as Saints defeated champions-in-waiting Liverpool 3-2. Martin Foyle was brought down by future Saints stopper Bruce Grobbelaar for an early penalty converted by Steve Moran, but the visitors responded through Kenny Dalglish and Craig Johnston, who turned the game on its head. Saints came roaring back, as Holmes followed in Moran’s low cross that was intended for Danny Wallace, before hitting a far more memorable goal to complete the scoring. Trotting back after taking a corner, the midfielder was the furthest man forward as he took Chris Nicholl’s looping header neatly in his stride and unleashed a brilliant half-volley on his left foot that flew past the helpless Grobbelaar and found the net via the keeper’s right-hand post.
Another explosive start from Saints blew Liverpool away on Valentine’s Day in 1994. It took just 28 seconds for Alan Ball’s resurgent hosts to get their noses in front, as Matt Le Tissier crashed in a stunning half-volley from 25 yards. Five minutes later, it was 2-0, as Le Tissier’s deep corner was headed back across goal and in by Craig Maskell. When Le Tissier completed his hat-trick courtesy of two penalties either side of half time, Liverpool were shell-shocked. The visitors did reduce the deficit with a spot-kick of their own, converted by Julian Dicks, as conditions descended into a blizzard, before Dicks’s low shot was parried by Dave Beasant into the path of Ian Rush, who made the final score 4-2, amid muted Liverpool celebrations.
One of the great Saints performances right at the end of an exciting decade for the club, as unbeaten Liverpool were cast aside at The Dell in another classic. Paul Rideout rattled the crossbar in an early statement of intent, before meeting Jason Dodd’s cross with a bullet header to break the deadlock. Rod Wallace collected a disguised pass from Le Tissier and fired in number two, before the same combination made it three after half time, as Wallace finished off a deep cross from the right. Peter Beardsley pulled one back from the penalty spot, but Le Tissier rounded things off with a fine header after Wallace had returned the favour with a pinpoint cross of his own.
Saints were right up against it at St Mary’s when the Reds raced into a two-goal lead, as Philippe Coutinho curled in a sublime opener, before Daniel Sturridge finished smartly to leave Ronald Koeman’s men with a mountain to climb at half time. Saints’ cause was not helped when Sadio Mané’s penalty was saved by Simon Mignolet, but the winger scored soon after to give the hosts some hope. With just seven minutes left, Graziano Pellè fired home a brilliant shot from the edge of the box, before turning provider for Mané to complete a remarkable turnaround with a low shot across Mignolet that sent St Mary’s into ecstasy and kept alive Saints’ European ambitions.
Saints have experienced some memorable days at Anfield, including headed winners from Michael Svensson in 2003 and Dejan Lovren 10 years later. But none can top this moment of euphoria from the second leg of the 2017 EFL Cup semi-final second leg. Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Saints knew to expect a backlash, but stood firm and had Fraser Forster to thank for a miraculous save that maintained their slender aggregate lead. With Liverpool pressure building as the tie entered stoppage time, Josh Sims broke clear on the counter-attack after Saints had cleared a corner, and carried the ball purposefully into home territory. Sliding the ball to his right, Sims fed Shane Long, who kept his head to secure victory on the night and Saints’ place in a major final in the most dramatic fashion.