Southampton did their hopes of avoiding the drop from the English Premier League the power of good and dented Liverpool's top six hopes Saturday with a 3-1 win at St Mary's.
Saints, striving to stay in the top flight after two consecutive promotions, took the lead after just five minutes through Morgan Schneiderlin, who fired home from close range.
Liverpool seemed shell-shocked by that as they struggled to respond, save for a Daniel Sturridge long-range snapshot which Artur Boruc saved.
And the visitors were stunned still further when they found themselves two goals down after 32 minutes, Rickie Lambert firing home a freekick.
Liverpool looked to have dragged themselves back into the match right on the stroke of half-time when Portuguese recent acquisition Phillippe Coutinho netted from close range after good work from Sturridge.
But after the break, the pendulum swung back towards the hosts, who gambled in mid-season by firing Nigel Adkins as manager in January.
Successor Mauricio Pochettino had prior to Saturday's encounter overseen only one victory in seven matches - albeit one over defending champions Manchester City last month.
But they made sure of the points with a third goal ten minutes from time courtesy of Jay Rodriguez.
Rodriguez looked to have few options available as he ran at the Liverpool defence but forced an initial save out of keeper Brad Jones and then slotted home the rebound.
The success moved the Saints seven points clear of the drop zone with eight games remaining.
Liverpool, gradually making progress in recent outings under Brendan Rodgers, had been seeking a win which would have lifted them level on points with neighbours Everton, who earlier defeated Manchester City 2-0.
But instead, they went down to a loss which left the five-time European champions looking over their shoulders at fellow Europa League hopefuls West Bromwich Albion and Swansea.