Liverpool remain top after draw against Southampton
Liverpool remain top of the Premier League despite failing to score for only the third time this season in their goalless draw against Southampton.
- Liverpool’s attack denied for a third time this season.
- Two of Liverpool’s last five top-flight games have ended in goalless draws, after just one in the previous 37 under Jurgen Klopp.
- Southampton failed to register a single shot on target.
- Liverpool kept a clean sheet for the first time in their last 12 Premier League away games.
- Lallana who’s out for 2-3 games was sorely missed.
- Coutinho looked tired after demanding international games.
Jürgen Klopp named a strong side to face Southampton, with the surprise inclusion of Philippe Coutinho. Was this an ill-judged move? If this wasn’t then the decision to bring on Sturridge as late as he did certainly was.
It was always going to be a tough encounter, Southampton are a tough team to break down. Disciplined enough to know their limitations and when to sit back with up to 8 behind the ball.
With these tactics Liverpool really struggled to find their way through in the 2nd half. Missing Adam Lallana and what he brings to their prolific attacking.
Sadio Mane, who was understandably booed on a regular basis twice went close to opening the scoring on his return to St Mary’s before the break. Sadly only to be denied by a superb Fraser Forster save and Virgil van Dijk’s last-ditch block.
Van Dijk had another superb game, watching him play alongside Matip in our defence would be amazing. I’m not convinced Southampton would allow us to raid them again. Although I’m convinced we have enough stamps to redeem our free player now!
The Brazilian duo of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino missed some good chances when clear through on goal. It seemed the international break affected their mojo.
Southampton had only a handful of chances of their own – whether this was a reflection of Liverpool’s solid display or Southampton’s tactics to deny Liverpool’s fluid attacking threat.
A defeat for Liverpool would have been harsh, however remain top of the league ahead of second-placed Manchester City on goals scored.
How did Southampton’s Old boys get on?
Whilst there is a running joke we only buy from Southampton, getting stamps for each purchase etc… This fixture has gained added interest in recent years, with Liverpool spending almost £100m on buying some of Southampton’s best players. It has to be said that most clubs envy their set up. Managers move on, consistently selling their top players, however it doesn’t appear to affect them.
Centre-back Lovren who cost the Reds £20m had a relatively comfortable afternoon.
Right-back Clyne was a constant threat on the overlap, only to spurn the chance to punish his former side by heading substitute Daniel Sturridge’s cross well wide on 80 minutes.
Lively Senegal forward Mane came close to ensuring a triumphant return for the Saints’ old boys but his curling first-time effort from Georginio Wijnaldum’s pass was tipped over brilliantly by Forster. Van Dijk also made a crucial block before Mane disappeared in the second half.
Southampton kept their opponents quiet in the first half. Many people expected a lot of goals as the previous three meetings between the two sides have produced a massive 14 goals.
Great link up play
At times Coutinho looked a few seconds off the pace, however you always sensed he could turn the game round. Possibly why Klopp was reluctant to replace him so soon. The link up play between him and Firmino was still as good as ever – highlighted with Coutinho’s deft throughball to Firmino, only for his compatriot to poke wide when unmarked 10 yards out. Another missed opportunity.
Can’s miss towards the game just summed it all up. Great play but missing that final killer ball. Would someone of Sturridge’s predatory instincts have scored? Possibly – but with only 12 minutes on the pitch he’d have to hit the ground running to make the desired impact.
Towards the end you sensed a goal was coming. Liverpool looking comfortable on the ball trying to find a way through the 8 man defence. A self disciplined display by Southampton’s defensive unit. Even in injury time Liverpool were still trying to score – such is the desire to win. A big change from the Rodgers era, Klopp has to take the credit for that!!
For most of the game van Dijk had the better of Roberto Firmino at St Mary’s. However he did appear to pull Firmino’s shirt on the edge of the area. Conveniently preventing the Brazilian going through, but referee Mark Clattenburg quickly waved away Liverpool’s protests.
Liverpool will be pleased to secure their second clean sheet of the season, but equally frustrated it was against a Saints side who did not register a single shot on target.
What do you think? Do you think Klopp was wise to start with Coutinho?
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