Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken of his disappointment at the hostile reception received by Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert during the duo's return to Southampton on Sunday.

Former Saints captain Lallana, long-serving striker Lambert, and defender Dejan Lovren each returned to their former club for the first time since leaving St Mary's for Anfield last summer. Lallana in particular was loudly booed by home supporters despite having spent 14 years at Southampton and helping them to achieve successive promotions from League One back to the top flight after a difficult spell.

"Today was always going to be difficult for the likes of Dejan and Adam," Rodgers was quoted by the Daily Mail. "I was a bit disappointed for Adam. He was captain here for two years, gave incredible service and could have left a number of times and didn't. To get the reception he did was disappointing."

Lambert, who moved to the south coast in 2009 and scored over 100 goals before earning a dream £4m move to boyhood idols Liverpool, was greeted more warmly by the crowd, but Rodgers was nevertheless irked by an apparent lack of recognition for all the England international achieved during his successful spell with Southampton.

"There was nothing in the match programme referencing his time here," he added. "No mention for Lambert as well. Those two guys gave their heart and soul to Southampton and were big supporters of this club. They've moved to one of the biggest clubs in the world. Those two guys were wonderful servants.

"It was a massive decision for them to come to Liverpool. For former servants or players, there's always appreciation. But nothing here. For me, that's a wee bit sad. I was thinking of them today looking at the programme before the game. Everything they gave to this club to get them here today, and not a mention."

While such a claim may prove to be unfounded after suggestions that Southampton captain Kelvin Davis did in fact reference all three returning players in his regular programme notes, Lallana and Lambert certainly had the last laugh after yet another strong away performance from Liverpool saw them return to Merseyside with a vital three points in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Rodgers' side survived a number of early penalty claims and took the lead after just three minutes courtesy of a quite fantastic long-range strike from Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

Despite evidence of some neat passing football from the hosts, Liverpool remained resolute in defence and made sure of an important victory 17 minutes from time as a combination of a sloppy pass from Morgan Schneiderlin and a botched clearance from Matt Targett allowed the otherwise quiet Raheem Sterling to fire home.

Southampton certainly had a right to feel aggrieved at the performance of referee Kevin Friend, particularly with defeat meaning that they remain behind fourth-place Manchester United in the Premier League table and have had their previously significant buffer over Sunday's opponents trimmed to just a solitary point.

For Liverpool, who travel to Turkey later this week for the conclusion of their Europa League last 32 tie with Besiktas, this win saw them extend their run of consecutive clean sheets away from home to five games for the first time in 30 years.

Despite appearing well short of the required pace during the early months of the season following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool are now rapidly gaining ground on the teams above them and have gone 10 league games without tasting defeat.