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Liverpool 1 Southampton 0 match report: Daniel Agger heads winner at Anfield

Liverpool 1 Southampton 0: Agger header has Reds looking up the table

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UPDATED:

17:11 GMT, 1 December 2012

Defender Daniel Agger's first goal of the season ensured Liverpool returned to winning ways at home to Southampton but they made hard work of the victory.

The Denmark international powered home a header just before half-time, only his fifth in 133 Premier League appearances, after a host of chances had gone begging.

In doing so he helped the Reds to only their third home win of the season and back-to-back league wins at Anfield for the first time since September 2011.

On target: Daniel Agger secured a vital victory for Liverpool

On target: Daniel Agger secured a vital victory for Liverpool

Match facts

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Lucas, Allen (Henderson 69), Shelvey, Gerrard, Sterling, Suarez. Subs not used: Jones, Sahin, Downing, Carragher, Fernandez Saez, Wisdom.

Booked: Suarez.

Goal: Agger 43.

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Puncheon (Rodriguez 78), Cork (Steven Davis 70), Schneiderlin, Lallana, Ramirez, Lambert. Subs not used: Kelvin Davis, Hooiveld, Ward-Prowse, Mayuka, Reeves.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 44,525.

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But in truth it should have been far
more comfortable than it actually was, which is a familiar story where
Liverpool have been concerned recently.

They had 14 shots in a totally
one-sided first half although Southampton could easily have had a goal
of their own with Rickie Lambert's long-range shooting threatening to
catch out Jose Reina.

The Southampton striker sent an early
swerving effort just wide before, in added time, his 35-yard drive had
Reina scrambling back to turn ball around the post.

But those two chances book-ended what was a procession of missed opportunities for the dominant hosts.

The restoration of Lucas Leiva to the
side as defensive midfield linchpin after a three-month absence with a
thigh injury transformed the dynamic almost immediately.

With both Steven Gerrard and Joe
Allen freed to play higher up the pitch in a 4-1-4-1 formation most of
the action was concentrated in their final third.

Winning moment: Daniel Agger rises highest to meet Glen Johnson's cross

Winning moment: Daniel Agger rises highest to meet Glen Johnson's cross to spark celebration from the Liverpool players (below)

Winning moment: Daniel Agger rises highest to meet Glen Johnson's cross to spark celebration from the Liverpool players (below)

Mixed emotions: Southampton and Liverpool react after Agger's goal

Mixed emotions: Southampton and Liverpool react after Agger's goal

Jonjo Shelvey, also back in the side,
bobbled straight at goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, Glen Johnson flicked
Luis Suarez's pass across the face of goal, Steven Gerrard had a shot
charged down and then fired wide after a quickly-taken free-kick to
Suarez.

Gazzaniga denied both Shelvey and
Suarez, who made justifiable claims he had been pulled back by Jack
Cork, before the Uruguay international latched onto Reina's long kick
and beat the goalkeeper only for Maya Yoshida to clear the ball for a
corner.

When Shelvey smashed an angled shot
past the goalkeeper but back off the inside of the far post it appeared
luck was not on their side.

A marked man: Jason Puncheon gputs pressure on Raheem Sterling

A marked man: Jason Puncheon gputs pressure on Raheem Sterling

However, it took a double-dose of Uruguayan intervention to eventually help break the deadlock two minutes before the break.

Saints' South American summer signing
Gaston Ramirez flattened international team-mate Suarez on the edge of
the penalty area and although the Reds striker crashed his free-kick
onto the crossbar it rebounded to Johnson.

His cross into the penalty area was met by Agger who planted a header into the top corner from 10 yards.

Acrobatics: Daniel Agger clears from Gaston Ramirez

Acrobatics: Daniel Agger clears from Gaston Ramirez

Southampton, having undertaken damage
limitation in the first half, came out positively after the break and
Liverpool struggled to reassert their dominance.

After the first-half deluge it took until midway through the second period to carve out a good opportunity.

Jose Enrique, marauding from
left-back having been restored to his preferred position, exchanged
passes with Suarez on the edge of the area but his toe-poke at goal was
deflected wide by Luke Shaw.

Combative: Luis Suarez eases away from Maya Yoshida (above) as Lucas tackles Gaston Ramirez (below)

Combative: Luis Suarez eases away from Maya Yoshida (above) as Lucas tackles Gaston Ramirez (below)

Combative: Luis Suarez eases away from Maya Yoshida (above) as Lucas tackles Gaston Ramirez (below)

The Spaniard also saw his drilled half-volley from the left of the area batted away by Gazzaniga.
Such was Liverpool's desperation to score the second and give themselves
some breathing space Suarez tried to punch in Gerrard's cross.

It proved costly as his subsequent
booking ruled the side's leading scorer out of next Sunday's trip to
West Ham, who beat third-placed Chelsea earlier in the day.

Close attention: Jose Enrique fends off Gaston Ramirez

Close attention: Jose Enrique fends off Gaston Ramirez

Suarez flashed a left-footed shot
just wide in added time but in the end Agger's goal proved just enough
to ensure they crept closer to the top four, which manager Brendan
Rodgers insists remains a possibility.

It will only do so, however, if they
first find more support for Suarez in the January transfer window and
start converting more of their chances.

Southampton 1 Norwich 1: Mark Clattenburg returns, Rickie Lambert and Robert Snodgrass score

Southampton 1 Norwich 1: Clattenburg back with a clanger with Lambert on hand to take advantage

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UPDATED:

22:12 GMT, 28 November 2012

Mark Clattenburg probably hoped for a gentle re-introduction into Premier League refereeing. He did not get it.

Taking charge of a football match for the first-time since being wrongly accused of racially abusing John Mikel Obi, the official missed a crucial handball in the lead up to Southampton taking the lead, before being targeted with cries of 'you don't know what you're doing' and 'you're not fit to referee' from Saints supporters as Norwich fought their way back into this encounter.

It all started so well for Clattenburg, as he was given a standing ovation during his pre-match warm up. But little did he know how feelings towards him would change.

The main man: Rickie Lambert (left) put Southampton ahead

The main man: Rickie Lambert (left) put Southampton ahead

Match facts

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana, Lambert, Ramirez. Subs not used: Kelvin Davis, Hooiveld, Steven Davis, Rodriguez, Do Prado, Mayuka, Reeves.

Booked: Clyne.

Goal: Lambert 32.

Norwich: Bunn, Whittaker, Ryan Bennett, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Johnson, Tettey, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Holt. Subs not used: Rudd, Martin, Howson, Jackson, Morison, Elliott Bennett, Barnett.

Goal: Snodgrass 45.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Attendance: 29,325.

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How the referee would fare on his
return to frontline action would have been the last thing on the minds
the two managers, Nigel Adkins of Southampton and Norwich’s Chris
Hughton. Both sides went into the game in promising form.

Since emerging victorious from ‘El
Sackico’ against Queens Park Rangers 12 days ago, Southampton swept
Newcastle aside on Sunday to keep Adkins in a job — for now.

Likewise, Norwich have gone seven games unbeaten — a run that has included wins over Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.

Hughton’s glee was tempered somewhat
before kick-off with the news that first-choice goalkeeper John Ruddy
will miss at least three months as he prepares to have surgery on a
thigh problem.

Norwich created the first
opportunity, goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga producing an excellent save to
stop Anthony Pilkington’s effort in the fifth minute.

Eight minutes later, Clattenburg made
his first major decision, waving away Southampton’s claims for a
penalty after Adam Lallana went down under pressure from Sebastien
Bassong.

Welcome return: Referee Mark Clattenburg took charge of his first game since the Chelsea race row

Welcome return: Referee Mark Clattenburg took charge of his first game since his Chelsea race row hell

Welcome return: Mark Clattenburg was given a standing ovation at St Mary's before officiating his first game since the Chelsea race storm

Welcome return: Mark Clattenburg was given a standing ovation at St Mary's before officiating his first game since the Chelsea race storm

The centre of attention: Clattenburg keeps Alex Tettey and Morgan Schneiderlin apart

The centre of attention: Clattenburg keeps Alex Tettey and Morgan Schneiderlin apart

The Saints skipper then went within
inches of putting his side ahead with a spectacular volley when his
sweet strike from Lambert’s arrowing pass flew just over Mark Bunn’s
bar.

But the home side only had to wait
seven more minutes to take the lead — but it came in controversial
circumstances, with Clattenburg at the centre of it.

Lallana swung in a
free-kick from the left, Grant Holt made a hash of his attempted
defensive header before the ball clearly hit Lambert on the arm.

On target: Rickie Lambert pokes past Mark Bunn to give Saints the lead

On target: Rickie Lambert pokes past Mark Bunn to give Saints the lead

On target: Rickie Lambert makes no mistake, converting from inside the six yard box

On target: Rickie Lambert makes no mistake, converting from inside the six yard box

Bright start: Rickie Lambert's sixth of the season first Saints ahead

Bright start: Rickie Lambert's sixth of the season first Saints ahead

However, Clattenburg ignored
Norwich’s appeal for handball before Lambert took advantage of the
uncertainty to prod home from close range.

Gaston Ramirez went close to doubling the home side’s lead with curling free-kick that flew narrowly wide of Bunn’s far post.

Massive clanger: Saints keeper Paulo Gazzaniga allowed Robert Snodgrass' free-kick to slip through his hands just before the break

Massive clanger: Saints keeper Paulo Gazzaniga allowed Robert Snodgrass' free-kick to slip through his hands just before the break

Pure delight: Robert Snodgrass looks stunned after Paulo Gazzaniga's howler let Norwich back into the game

Pure delight: Robert Snodgrass looks stunned after Paulo Gazzaniga's howler let Norwich back into the game

But on the stroke of half-time,
Norwich dragged themselves level, thanks in part to Clattenburg. The
referee awarded Hughton’s side a free-kick on the edge of the area for
Nathaniel Clyne’s challenge on Snodgrass — and the Norwich midfielder
struck a shot that somehow went through Gazzaniga and into the back of
the net.

Clattenburg was treated to
renditions of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’, from home supporters,
who had grown frustrated at the number of decisions that had gone
Norwich’s way.

Tough to stop: Adam Lallana skips past Bradley Johnson to launch another Saints attack

Tough to stop: Adam Lallana skips past Bradley Johnson to launch another Saints attack

Clyne made a superb tackle to deny
Pilkington in the 60th minute as Norwich started the second half with
renewed vigour, before Gazzaniga made up for his first-half error with a
brilliant save from Holt header.

Jason Puncheon then saw his low
powerful drive well saved by Bunn as Southampton were denied the win
that would have lifted them out of the bottom three.

Southampton 2 Fulham 2: Jose Fonte rescues point for Saints

Southampton 2 Fulham 2: Fonte rescues dramatic point in injury time as Saints move out of bottom three

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UPDATED:

14:55 GMT, 7 October 2012

Jose Fonte's last-gasp header secured Southampton a point and saved defensive partner Jos Hooiveld's blushes against Fulham.

The Portuguese centre-back nodded home a 90th-minute leveller in a game in which he had broken the deadlock after just four minutes.

Hooiveld scored an own goal in Southampton's 6-1 humbling at Arsenal and did so again on the south coast when he directed home a speculative John Arne Riise drive in the second half.

Hooiveld, who came on eight minutes into the clash after Frazer Richardson suffered a thigh injury, then saw Kieran Richardson's close-range strike brush off him on its way in two minutes from time, although the goal was credited to the Fulham man.

However, Fonte saved the Dutchman and his side late on to earn Southampton a fourth point of the campaign.

Heading home: Jose Fonte scores his second goal for Southampton

Heading home: Jose Fonte scores his second goal for Southampton

MATCH FACTS

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Richardson (Hooiveld 8), Yoshida, Fonte, Fox, Puncheon (Chaplow 61), Schneiderlin, Steven Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert (Guly 67).
Subs not used: K Davis, Reeves, Ward-Prowse, Mayuka.

Goals: Fonte 4, 90.

Bookings: Yoshida, Fonte, Hooiveld, Schneiderlin.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Kacaniklic (Richardson 66), Ruiz, Baird, Sidwell (Karagounis 72), Duff, Rodallega.
Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Kasami, Briggs.

Goals: Hooiveld og 70, Richardson 88.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

The hosts began brightly and the
returning Morgan Schneiderlin fired a wayward warning shot, before
Rickie Lambert headed into the side-netting after connecting with a
Danny Fox corner from the right.

Southampton had their second corner by the fourth minute and made their early dominance count.
Adam Lallana floated the set-piece in from the left and Fonte's glanced
header at the near post looped over goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and into
the far corner.

Richardson was forced off in the
eighth minute for the hosts and his departure forced a defensive
reshuffle, with replacement Hooiveld forcing Maya Yoshida out wide.

Fulham began to make headway, with Lambert blocking Aaron Hughes from a corner before the Northern Irishman headed over.

Saints, though, were still looking
dangerous and came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage as Jay
Rodriguez beat the offside trap and pulled back for Lambert, whose
right-footed effort just went wide.

All smiles: Kieran Richardson celebrates after scoring for Fulham

All smiles: Kieran Richardson celebrates after scoring for Fulham

Delight: John Arne Riise celebrates after his shot is turned into his own net by Jos Hooiveld

Delight: John Arne Riise celebrates after his shot is turned into his own net by Jos Hooiveld

The home side continued to press and Jason Puncheon twice came close from 22nd-minute corners.
Puncheon was denied on the goal-line by Sascha Riether and then, from
the following corner, the wide man was adjudged to have fouled Schwarzer
prior to prodding home.

Lambert forced Schwarzer into action
at his near post after collecting a fine pass from Puncheon, but Fulham
stepped up the pressure as half-time approached and home goalkeeper
Paulo Gazzaniga was required for the first time in stoppage time when
Hughes headed goalwards. The Cottagers again came close as Hooiveld
failed to deal with a hopeful long ball and Hugo Rodallega poked wide
under pressure from Gazzaniga.

Heading in: Aaron Hughes can't prevent a Jose Fonte's effort from creeping into the net

Heading in: Aaron Hughes can't prevent a Jose Fonte's effort from creeping into the net

That momentum continued into the
second half but it was still Southampton enjoying the best
opportunities, with Lambert volleying over a driven Schneiderlin cross
from the right.

Schwarzer spilt a hopeful 25-yard
effort from Rodriguez after a great surge forward but Fulham were
looking a more dangerous opponent and twice came close in the 60th
minute.

Gazzaniga did terrifically to push a
close-range Rodallega header away moments after Steve Sidwell bundled
the ball onto the post.

Celebrations: Jose Fonte with Southampton fans on Sunday

Celebrations: Jose Fonte with Southampton fans on Sunday

Fulham could have also been awarded a
penalty after Yoshida appeared to handle in the midst of the action.
Both sides made changes in a bid to change the match but it was an
earlier substitute whose impact was felt on the south coast.

Riise drilled a low shot from the
left and centre-back Hooiveld could only direct it into his own goal,
putting Fulham level in the 69th minute.

The goal had been coming and
the Cottagers threatened to go ahead, with substitute Kieran Richardson
putting a Riether cross over.

Going close: Rickie Lambert sees his shot saved by Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer

Going close: Rickie Lambert sees his shot saved by Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer

Rodriguez nodded wide for the hosts
in stoppage time and Saints paid when Richardson fired home off
Hooiveld's leg two minutes from time.

The substitute looked to have
earned Fulham three points but he gave away a late free-kick from which
Fonte headed home to earn Saints a point.

My ball: Danny Fox clashes with Fulham's Damian Duff

My ball: Danny Fox clashes with Fulham's Damian Duff

Southampton 4 Aston Villa 1: Saints off the mark after Lambert brace

Southampton 4 Aston Villa 1: Saints off the mark after Lambert brace

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UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 22 September 2012

Rickie Lambert-inspired Southampton
produced a superb comeback to collect their first victory back in the
top flight against Aston Villa.

Saints came into the match rooted to
the bottom of the standings after four successive defeats but secured
three points on the south coast as their 30-year-old talisman netted
twice and set up another.

Hit man: Southampton's English striker Rickie Lambert equalises

Hit man: Southampton's English striker Rickie Lambert scres the equaliser

Match facts

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Fox (Richardson 46), Puncheon (Mayuka 74), Schneiderlin, Steven Davis (Ward-Prowse 79), Lallana, Lambert, Ramirez. Subs Not Used: Kelvin Davis, Rodriguez, Do Prado, Seaborne.

Booked: Clyne.

Goals: Lambert 58, Clyne 63, Clark 72 og, Lambert 90 pen.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj (Bennett 68), Holman, Ireland (Westwood 46), El Ahmadi, Bannan (Agbonlahor 68), Bent, Benteke.
Subs Not Used: Given,N'Zogbia, Bowery, Weimann.

Booked: Vlaar,Lichaj,Guzan.

Goals: Bent 36.

Att: 30,713

Ref: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).

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Their miserable start to life back in the Premier League had looked set to continue after sloppy defending allowed Darren Bent to break the deadlock in the first half.

It was the 15th goal conceded by Nigel Adkins' side in just five top-flight matches but, for once, their inability to defend did not cost them.

Lambert drew the hosts level in the second half after firing home under pressure and the match turned on its head five minutes later.

Nathaniel Clyne slotted home from close range after latching on to a superb through-ball from new boy Gaston Ramirez, before Jason Puncheon saw a shot deflected in by Villa defender Ciaran Clark to make it 3-1. Lambert netted his second of the day from the spot in stoppage-time.

The big talk pre-match was about Nigel Adkins' gutsy decision to drop club captain Kelvin Davis in favour of Premier League debutant Paulo Gazzaniga.

The 20-year-old Argentinian goalkeeper joined the south coast club from Gillingham in the summer and was one of three changes made after the 6-1 hiding at Arsenal last weekend.

Hold on: Lambert celebrates

Hold on: Lambert celebrates

Recent acquisitions Maya Yoshida and
Ramirez were handed their first starts for the hosts, who were quickest
to settle at St Mary's.
Puncheon saw a neat one-two that was just too strong for Ramirez, who
then played through Lambert on the left flank only for the striker to
blaze over unbalanced.
For all of Southampton's early pressure they were being reduced to
long-range efforts, with former Villa midfielder Steven Davis and
Ramirez both screwing wide from distance.

Stunner: Jason Puncheon scores their third goal

Stunner: Jason Puncheon scores their third goal

Cool head: Nathaniel Clyne of Southampton scores despite the efforts of Ashley Westwood of Aston Villa

Cool head: Nathaniel Clyne of Southampton scores despite the efforts of Ashley Westwood of Aston Villa

Done it: Nathaniel Clyne celebrates his first goal for three years

Done it: Nathaniel Clyne celebrates his first goal for three years

The visitors had not created the same opportunities but were looking
dangerous whenever they attacked the hosts' new-look backline, with a
late lunging tackle by Jose Fonte preventing Bent.

Going forward Adam Lallana was proving Southampton's most dangerous
outlet and attempted an over-head kick during a penalty box melee on the
half-hour mark.

That was caught comfortably by Brad Guzan, and when Villa broke, Stephen Ireland's deep cross was volleyed wide by Barry Bannan.

It was a warning shot that Saints failed to heed as Bent handed Villa a 36th-minute lead.

Saints failed to clear their lines as Ireland's mis-hit shot fell to the
England international, who reacted quickly to ghost in between Yoshida
and Danny Fox to tap home.

It was just reward for Villa as their tactics of frustrating the hosts
and waiting for a mistake by their leaky defence paid dividends.

Ron Vlaar was booked as half-time approached for a trip before the break, where both sides made changes.

Ashley Westwood replaced Ireland for Villa, while Saints hauled off Fox and brought on right-back Frazer Richardson.

First up: Aston Villa's Darren Bent opens the scoring

First up: Aston Villa's Darren Bent opens the scoring

Darren Bent of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring

Darren Bent of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring

Clyne switched to the left as a result for Saints, who saw Puncheon test Guzan from an acute angle seconds after the restart.

Villa, though, were playing confidently with Bent forcing Gazzaniga into
action at his near post after latching on to a nice through ball by
Benteke.

The Belgium international was impressing on his first start and should
have extended Villa's advantage in the 50th minute, meeting a Bannan
corner with a powerful header that flew just over.

Eric Lichaj was booked for a late challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin as
Southampton pushed for an equaliser, with referee Jon Moss waving away
penalty appeals from Lambert at the resulting-free-kick, denying him a
chance at levelling from the spot.

However, the 30-year-old would not be stopped for long as he expertly
controlled a driven Lallana cross from the right and lashed home under
pressure from four Villa defenders.

The 58th-minute leveller seemed to lift a weight off the Southampton
players' shoulders as Lallana soon flashed a 25-yard effort just over,
before Clyne then snuck in to put Saints ahead.

Relief: Southampton manager Nigel Atkins

Relief: Southampton manager Nigel Atkins

Having started the move, the defender burst into the box and collected
an exquisite Ramirez ball to slot home from close range in the 63rd
minute.

Clyne was booked in the aftermath as Villa introduced Gabby Agbonlahor
and Joe Bennett in a bid to stem the flow, with the latter's first
action seeing Puncheon cut past him and curl just wide.

It was 3-1 in the 72nd minute when
Puncheon picked up the ball from Lambert and showed good control before
rifling home a shot from the edge of the six-yard box which was defended
in by Villa defender Ciaran Clark.

Puncheon received a standing ovation from the majority of the 30,713
inside St Mary's when he was substituted, with replacement Emmanuel
Mayuka curling inches wide in the 78th minute.

Mayuka saw a shot saved at the near post as the clock wound down before
he was brought down in the box by Guzan in stoppage time.

The American received a booking for the challenge and Lambert slotted
home the spot-kick to give Saints their first Premier League victory
since defeating Norwich 4-3 in April 2005.