Liverpool 1 Southampton 1: Three talking points
Three talking points as Southampton deny Liverpool late win
Liverpool must turn draws into wins
Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton was Liverpool’s eighth tie in their last nine games. The result sees the Merseyside outfit remain eight points behind pace-setters Manchester City and Arsenal. The first half was so uninspiring Jamie Carragher likened the style of play to that of a church choir rather than the heavy metal band Jurgen Klopp promised to bring. Things improved to a degree in the second half, primarily thanks to Christian Benteke replacing the hapless Divock Origi from the bench. But even so the home side produced just a miserable two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes. Jordan Henderson’s drive and determination is evidently missed in the centre of midfield and the goal threat of Daniel Sturridge is a void which they still have not established how to fill. Klopp has his work cut out at Anfield, make no mistake. Having let the lead slip as they did against Everton two weeks ago in Brendan Rodgers’ final game as Liverpool boss, it seems the ‘new manager effect’ hasn’t had the impact Reds supporters were hoping it would have, and Klopp still awaits his first win with his new side.
Southampton’s impressive away form continues
Now unbeaten in their first five Premier League away games, Ronald Koeman’s men have made another encouraging start to a season. Admittedly four of those five matches have ended in draws and the only win was away to Chelsea side showing virtual relegation form, but the Saints possess a real goal threat. With Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle, Southampton have a forward combination which can pick holes in the most miserly of defences. Mane will miss their League Cup clash with Aston Villa after getting himself sent-off late on against Liverpool, but it’s likely he would’ve been rested in any case. Between them, Pelle and Mane have notched up 13 goals in all competitions this season, an impressive return by any standards. With £13m man Gaston Ramirez back in Koeman’s plans after a season out in the wilderness at Hull City, competition for places is strong at the moment. Koeman will hope for investment in the coming January transfer window and target an FA Cup run and push for a Europa League place if they can continue their excellent away form.
Lack of clean sheets a concern for Klopp
Just one clean sheet in their last nine games shows that Klopp must focus on both ends of the pitch as he endeavours to wake the sleeping giant of Anfield. Dejan Lovren was not in the squad for Sunday’s game despite having apparently recovered from a sprained ankle, leading to speculation that the German manager doesn’t rate the Croatian international. Liverpool’s defence looked untroubled for the majority of the 90 minutes but were still undone from a set-piece that was flicked on and then headed back across goal where Mane was lurking ready to pounce. Rodger’s favoured three at the back whereas Klopp has reverted to the traditional four, with Moreno getting the nod at left-back. With the high-tempo pressing game that Klopp intends to get Liverpool playing, the defence should be left less exposed than under Rodgers. Lucas Leiva, frozen out by Rodgers, was arguably man-of-the-match against Southampton with four interceptions and eight tackles. Sitting in front of the back four with the ever improving Emre Can, Lucas will have a big role to play until Henderson returns from injury