Both sides struggled for creativity in the opening half hour with Rickie Lambert’s scuffed left-footed volley and Artur Boruc’s outstanding save from Steven Gerrard’s free-kick the only chances of note.
The game began to open out as the interval approached with Victor Moses unable to dink over Boruc and Daniel Sturridge unlucky to see his header find the roof of the net.
Southampton flew out the blocks after the restart and grabbed the opener when Lovren headed home from a corner. They almost doubled their advantage but for Simon Mignolet’s stunning low stop from Dani Osvaldo’s effort.
Liverpool pushed for an equaliser but could not work many openings and it was the visitors who looked the more threatening with Mignolet forced into a superb triple stop after Luke Shaw had burst into the area.
Raheem Sterling wasted a great opportunity in the final minutes when his first touch cannoned off his foot when clean through on goal as Southampton held on for their second away win of the season.
The game also marked the final match of Luis Suarez’s suspension following his infamous bite on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. The Uruguayan is now available for selection in Wednesday’s League Cup tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
PRE-MATCH: Liverpool line-up with four centre-backs. Brendan Rodgers takes one straight from the Tony Pulis defending manual as he fields Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho as full-backs.
21’ – SAVE: Gerrard lines up the free-kick and unleashes a whipped strike at goal. It looks to be destined for the top corner but Artur Boruc pulls off an incredible save to deny the Liverpool and England skipper.
45+1’ – CHANCE: Sturridge rises like a salmon inside the area. It strikes his shoulder, loops high into the Anfield air before crashing down on the roof of Boruc's net.
54’ – GOAL – Liverpool 0-1 Southampton: The corner finds the head of Dejan Lovren who heads low into the corner. Gerrard, trying to clear it off the line, only hacks high into his own net. The away end erupts!
55’ – CHANCE: Osvaldo wriggles his way across the penalty area and unleashes a shot towards the bottom corner. Mignolet somehow gets an outstretched glove to it. What a stop from the Belgian.
69’ – THREE SAVES: Luke Shaw drives into the box. He shoots but Mignolet pushes it out, the resulting ricochet looks goal-bound but the Belgian saves again. Surely Southampton will score now? No! Mignolet leaps to punch the bouncing ball away with Shaw ready to prod home. Three ridiculous saves!
90’ – CHANCE: Sturridge hoists a ball over the top and Sterling is in... But it cannons off the winger's foot and the chance vanishes. That may just be the last chance they get.
Liverpool have lost five of their last seven matches against Southampton.
Southampton conceded 15 goals in their first five games last season. This season they’ve conceded just two.
TALKING POINT: Can Luis Suarez get Liverpool back on track? Liverpool had impressively navigated their opening league fixtures but today’s defeat undoes much of their good work. The return of Suarez will bring much-needed creativity to their ranks as they looked devoid of ideas at times.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Dejan Lovren (Southampton): Was responsible for clearing numerous Liverpool crosses and grabbed the vital goal with a brilliant header.
Liverpool: Mignolet 8, Toure 7, Sakho 5, Agger 5, Skrtel 6, Lucas 6, Henderson 6, Gerrard 6, Aspas 5, Moses 7, Sturridge 6. Subs: Sterling 6, Enrique 6, Alberto 5.
Southampton: Boruc 8, Clyne 7, Fonte 7, Lovren 8, Shaw 7, Wanyama 7, Schneiderlin 7, Lallana 7, Rodriguez 6, Lambert 6, Osvaldo 7. Subs: S. Davis 6, Ward-Prowse 6, Cork 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET