Redmond, Southampton win but could rue missed chances vs. Liverpool

Southampton took a big step towards their first League Cup final in more than 30 years by upsetting the form book with a 1-0 semifinal first leg win at home against a disappointing Liverpool.

Nathan Redmond's early goal was enough to give the Saints a narrow, but deserved, lead to take to Anfield in two weeks' time.

Redmond and Cedric Soares both missed gilt-edged opportunities to give the Saints a 2-0 lead, which would have put them within touching distance of Wembley.

Positives

Virgil van Dijk showed the Southampton captaincy is in good hands even if the axed Jose Fonte moves on this month. Van Dijk led by example and was visibly pumping up his teammates throughout the game.

The goal should do Nathan Redmond's confidence the world of good.

After a number of collapses of late, the Saints showed they still have the ability to see out tight games, even when Liverpool finally applied pressure late on.

Negatives

Jordy Clasie hobbling off with a second-half injury. Claude Puel will be hoping the Dutchman recovers quickly with Southampton facing a congested fixture list.

Southampton may live to regret a host of spurned chances which would have given themselves an even greater margin to take to Merseyside.

Manager rating out of 10

9 -- Want-away Fonte was the glaring omission from Southampton's team sheet after handing in a transfer request. Fonte apart, manager Puel answered supporters' pleas to name the strongest side available to him. Puel packed the midfield to try and nullify Liverpool's attacking threat and adopted a high pressing approach, both of which paid dividends.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Fraser Forster, 6 -- Saved brilliantly from Roberto Firmino's early volley, but was a spectator for the rest of the game. Will need to improve his distribution to fulfil his desire of being England's number one.

DF Cedric Soares, 8 -- Given a tough assignment up against Firmino but stuck doggedly to the task to frustrate the Brazilian, while also getting forward superbly. Should have done better with a second-half effort he hit into the side netting.

DF Maya Yoshida, 7 -- Got some stick from the crowd after some early moments of uncertainty but regained his composure to produce an assured showing.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 9 -- You run out of superlatives for the all-action Dutchman. Unflappable in defence and drew comparisons with the great Franz Beckenbauer with the way he sauntered out from the back with the ball.

DF Ryan Bertrand, 7 -- Kept hero-turned-foe Adam Lallana quiet on his return to St Mary's and bombed forward brilliantly.

MF Oriol Romeu, 8 -- Relished his scrap with the tough-tackling Emre Chan and gave the German a lesson in how to boss the midfield.

MF Jordy Clasie, 8 -- A tigerish performance before limping off midway through the second half. Made some crucial tackles to stop Liverpool from getting into their groove.

MF Steven Davis, 8 -- Picked ahead of James Ward-Prowse and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg because of his boundless energy and played a major role in Southampton's success with a typically tenacious display.

MF Dusan Tadic, 7 -- Serbia's player of the year showed he has the work rate and endeavour to match his assist-making skills. A very mature performance.

MF Nathan Redmond, 7 -- Silenced his critics with a coolly-taken opener but should have added a vital second minutes before half-time and was denied by the crossbar late on. Those misses could prove costly come the second leg.

FW Jay Rodriguez, 6 -- Ran himself into the ground for little reward. Still yet to rediscover the extra yard of pace he had before the crippling knee injury which stunted his career.

Substitutes

MF Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, N/A -- Put his team under pressure with some sloppy passes.

MF James Ward-Prowse, N/A -- Helped Southampton see the win through.

FW Shane Long N/A -- Teed up Redmod for his chip off the bar with a surging run.