Poch rates possession the key

Daily Echo: Luis Suarez Luis Suarez

The best way to stop Liverpool’s fearsome attack is by winning the battle for possession.

That is the view of Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino, ahead of this evening’s clash with the Reds, at St Mary’s.

Liverpool are top scorers in this season’s Premier League, with an incredible 70 goals – led by Luis Suárez on 23 and Daniel Sturridge on 18.

But Saints are one of only two teams to have kept them out this term, having earned a 1-0 win at Anfield in September.

They will hope for a repeat today, with Pochettino identifying control of the ball as key.

“We’re fully aware that we need to defend very well,” he said. “We need to win possession, we need to be very focused to actually nullify any chances that they create.

“The way that we plan to do that is just by taking possession from them, by not letting them win possession – to play in their half, to pressure them constantly.

“We need to counter their attacking mindfulness with our own attacking intent, and that just means going all out and keeping possession against them.”

Only Swansea have been better at Saints than keeping possession this season, with Pochettino’s side averaging 58.4 per cent in each game.

The Saints boss doesn’t want to see that number slip today, especially with the danger of world class forward Suárez lurking, and says his team must be “perfect” when they don’t have the ball.

“We need to have possession against Liverpool,” he reiterated.

“We need to try to keep possession and try to not let them create any chances whatsoever, or very few chances.

“It’s clear that we’re going to be facing one of the best strikers not just in England, but in the world.

“Suárez is possibly one of the best strikers in the world, but not only him, there’s other players that Liverpool have, such as (Philippe) Coutinho, (Raheem) Sterling, Sturridge, and other players within the Liverpool side that are very much quality players.

“It’s clear that we need to have a perfect game when we’re playing without the ball in order to not let them create any chances or to have a chance to win.”

Pochettino again rejected the suggestion that Saints don’t have anything left to play for this season, saying that the first target is now regaining the eighth position that they lost last weekend.

“I don’t think the season’s over. I disagree with that assessment,” he said.

“The motivation is always there to play well, to get the three points tomorrow, especially against a very tough team that’s actually a candidate to win the Premier League, a candidate that’s looking to get into the Champions League, and we also have the motivation to recover the position that we lost against West Ham.

“We have that massive motivation inside of us to recover that position.

“Football is passion, it demands motivation, it demands focus, and our focus is always the same.

“What I would say to the fans is, as I’m sure they will, come in full force tomorrow, with full voice, always support the team as they always do, and hopefully we can reward them with a victory.”

Comments (9)

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6:31am Sat 1 Mar 14

justaSaintsfan says...

Possession, goals for and no goals against please, Mauricio!!!
Possession, goals for and no goals against please, Mauricio!!! justaSaintsfan
  • Score: 4

7:13am Sat 1 Mar 14

Cpt. Kirk's illegitimate love child says...

Possess the football, own Liverpool, win the game. 3 points today please lads.
Possess the football, own Liverpool, win the game. 3 points today please lads. Cpt. Kirk's illegitimate love child
  • Score: 3

7:56am Sat 1 Mar 14

rednwhite72 says...

the hammers to park the bus and draw with everton, Newcastle to fall to the mighty tigers and Saints to go marching on...COYS!
the hammers to park the bus and draw with everton, Newcastle to fall to the mighty tigers and Saints to go marching on...COYS! rednwhite72
  • Score: 1

7:59am Sat 1 Mar 14

rednwhite72 says...

Hopefully Lovres is back and he and fontes can cope with the triple 'S' and England can go on to steal the points...whoops I said England I meant' Saints...easy mistake..lol
Hopefully Lovres is back and he and fontes can cope with the triple 'S' and England can go on to steal the points...whoops I said England I meant' Saints...easy mistake..lol rednwhite72
  • Score: 4

8:08am Sat 1 Mar 14

costa gaz says...

We need our strikers to to convert a few of the many chances we create, because you can be sure that Liverpool will be scoring goals today.
They are a top side and we'll have to have all of our players at the top of their game if we are to get anything today.
We need our strikers to to convert a few of the many chances we create, because you can be sure that Liverpool will be scoring goals today. They are a top side and we'll have to have all of our players at the top of their game if we are to get anything today. costa gaz
  • Score: 4

8:29am Sat 1 Mar 14

JohnItaly says...

Can't help thinking the best way to defeat the fearsome Liverpool attack is quite simple - score more goals than they do!!
Can't help thinking the best way to defeat the fearsome Liverpool attack is quite simple - score more goals than they do!! JohnItaly
  • Score: 1

9:18am Sat 1 Mar 14

bigfella777 says...

Putting the ball in the back of the net and making a proper effort for your 25k a week would help as well
Putting the ball in the back of the net and making a proper effort for your 25k a week would help as well bigfella777
  • Score: -2

9:40am Sat 1 Mar 14

Costa Baz says...

Keeping possession will obviously reduce Liverpool's opportunities to create chances, but as MP also says
“It’s clear that we need to have a perfect game when we’re playing without the ball in order to not let them create any chances or to have a chance to win."
The speed of their front line, allied to the passing ability of Couthino and Gerrard, means we need to stop the supply by blocking the passes or by making them hurry and force errors.

If we get it right, we can look forward to the media claiming that Liverpool's performance was " their worst this season", just as they did when we played Arsenal, and so many of the other "top" teams.
Keeping possession will obviously reduce Liverpool's opportunities to create chances, but as MP also says “It’s clear that we need to have a perfect game when we’re playing without the ball in order to not let them create any chances or to have a chance to win." The speed of their front line, allied to the passing ability of Couthino and Gerrard, means we need to stop the supply by blocking the passes or by making them hurry and force errors. If we get it right, we can look forward to the media claiming that Liverpool's performance was " their worst this season", just as they did when we played Arsenal, and so many of the other "top" teams. Costa Baz
  • Score: -1

11:12am Sat 1 Mar 14

el caballo santos101 says...

You've got to hold and give
But do it at the right time
You can be slow or fast
But you must get to the line
They'll always hit you and hurt you
Defend and attack
There's only one way to beat them
Get round the back
Catch me if you can
Cos' I'm the SOUTHAMPTON man
And what you're looking at
Is the master plan

these are wise words spoken by a former strictly come dancing star so I`m sure it would be a great way of beating the scouse!
You've got to hold and give But do it at the right time You can be slow or fast But you must get to the line They'll always hit you and hurt you Defend and attack There's only one way to beat them Get round the back Catch me if you can Cos' I'm the SOUTHAMPTON man And what you're looking at Is the master plan these are wise words spoken by a former strictly come dancing star so I`m sure it would be a great way of beating the scouse! el caballo santos101
  • Score: 1

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