Stewart Downing: Liverpool must beat teams like Southampton
Liverpool are now nine points off in the race for Champions League qualification
Liverpool winger Stewart Downing vented his frustration over his side’s 3-1 loss at Saint Mary’s Stadium on Saturday, pointing out that the defeat was a huge setback to their top-four aim.
The English international was of the opinion that people would expect Liverpool to dispatch relegation-threatened teams, after an enthralling win over Tottenham Hotspur just a week before.
Liverpool never really recovered after an early Southampton goal and were simply outplayed by a team who had totally different ambitions than theirs.
After a dismal start to the season, the Saints are currently battling survival in the Premier League. A win over the Merseyside club at the weekend though lifted them seven points above safety, putting further daylight between them and their relegation rivals.
In contrast, the defeat for Liverpool snapped their 3-match winning run in the league and dealt a fatal blow to their Champions League hopes.
And Downing was left piqued after the defeat, as he feels that the result has virtually ended their chances of returning European football back to Anfield next season.
The 28-year-old winger, however, showered praise on Southampton, admitting that they were the better team on the day.
He said: “If you can beat Tottenham at home, you should come here and win.
“If you want to be in the top four, you have to come to places like this and win.
“It’s difficult with them being in a relegation fight and playing for the new manager as well. I still think we had chances in the game considering we didn’t play well. We started too late and the game was over.
“They are scrapping for their lives and, to be fair, they were the better team on the day. You’ve got to give them credit for that."
Liverpool will have a two-week time to re-gather themselves and sort out what went wrong as teams now head for a two-week international break.
The Reds currently rest seventh in the Premier League standings and trail fourth-placed Spurs by nine points.
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