Liverpool fail to score past Southampton once again as their Champions League hopes suffer another Anfield setback…
Liverpool dropped points at home for a third consecutive fixture on Sunday as a missed James Milner penalty aided Southampton in taking home a share of the spoils.
The result means the Reds have failed to win any of the four league and cup meetings between the two this season, also failing to net on each occasion.
Of bigger concern is the damage the latest shutout could have on their hopes of securing a place in the top four as the 2016/17 campaign draws to a close.
A Champions League spot remains within their control but sights are quickly shifting from third to fourth after weekend victories for both Manchester City and Arsenal.
In a game of few chances, where the visitors were content to defend deep and in number, the pivotal moment came in the 66th minute when Jack Stevens handled a hopeful Lucas Leiva lofted through-ball.
Despite successfully dispatching all of his previous 10 penalties for the Merseysiders, Milner, after plenty of delaying tactics from the Saints, failed to beat a plunging Fraser Forster from 12-yards.
Other than a late header from substitute Marko Grujić, the England shot-stopper was rarely troubled from open play as a frustrated Liverpool resorted to speculative attempts from distance.
On another occasion Southampton could conceivably have repeated their 1-0 EFL Cup success at Anfield in January as they looked to exploit the space left when the hosts committed extra players forward in the closing stages.
Ultimately neither team could break the deadlock but Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp managed to remain positive at the final whistle.
“We were close,” remarked the German at his post-match press conference. “But in the end we couldn’t get the three points and that’s how it is.
“As everyone could see, it was a difficult game; Southampton played in a specific way. A lot of people might say that everybody will now play here like this, but it will not be like this and if it is, we have solutions.
“We had them today, but you need to score at one moment and then they’re open and then we can do other things. They were very disciplined and very deep; we defended their counter-attacks much better than we did against Crystal Palace, for example.
“In the end, it’s all about finishing or scoring one and we couldn’t do this. It made life not easy in the game. We tried until the end, but today was one of those days.
“Now we have only one point more, we wanted to have three points more, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s not exactly what we wanted and we are really disappointed about this, as you can imagine, but we will keep on going.”
With Arsenal playing twice before the Reds next take to the field, the club’s European destiny may look a little clearer when they face West Ham United at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
“We are still fighting and nobody has given up,” added Klopp. “I spoke immediately after the game to the boys – I cannot and don’t want to take away the disappointment, but what I can say is that we have one point more than before.
“The best manager I’ve ever had, the most experienced and in much more difficult situations said always that at the end of the season, this point will be really valuable, and I believe in this so we will see.
“But now we have to analyse this game. It’s pretty much already done, but we will do it one more time and speak about it and then we start the preparation for the West Ham game.”
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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