Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Sunday afternoon, and we bring you five key talking points from the Anfield showdown.
Once again the Reds had to settle for a share of the spoils, and despite going nine matches unbeaten, Liverpool have drawn eight of those.
Christian Benteke was close to being the match-winner, following his brilliant second-half header, but Sadio Mane couldn’t miss from close-range with four minutes remaining.
Jurgen Klopp was never going to be an instant miracle worker on Merseyside, and the flatness of the performance and all-round lack of quality shows the German has his work cut out in his new job.
Here are five talking points from the game.
Milner is seemingly losing admirers by the game, having failed to bring the consistency and experience to Anfield that made him so popular at Man City.
His use of the ball was poor in general, as was his positional sense, and despite providing the assist for Benteke’s header, his rash tackle eventually led to the Saints’ equaliser – picking up his fifth booking of the season and therefore banned for the next game.
Coutinho continues to look a shadow of the player who won Liverpool’s Player of the Year award last season, and he cut a noticeably subdued figure throughout.
The 23-year-old is just not influencing things at all, and one wayward second-half shot epitomised how woefully out of touch he currently is.
Milner and Coutinho should be two of the Reds’ most important players, but at the moment, they genuinely feel like weak-links.
Christian Benteke shines
The major positive was Benteke, the Belgian’s second-half performance showed exactly what qualities he will bring to the team.
The 24-year-old replaced the ineffective Divock Origi at half-time, and within minutes, his pace, power and general goal threat had made a difference.
It’s unfair to criticise Origi too much, given his age, but the gulf in class between him and his Belgian compatriot is enormous.
Christian Benteke has now scored 14 headed goals in the Premier League since 2012/13, no player has more. pic.twitter.com/96tc0jpWRJ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 25, 2015
Benteke’s goal was fantastic, with the former Aston Villa man thundering a header past Maarten Stekelenburg in front of the Kop, and it’s just a huge shame it didn’t prove to be the winner.
Not all Liverpool fans were delighted by Benteke’s arrival at Anfield in the summer, but three goals in seven league games is a decent start to his injury-hit time at the club.
With Daniel Sturridge a constant fitness concern, the Belgium international will be vital for the Reds as the season progresses.
The Alberto Moreno revival continues
There were many Liverpool players tipped to shine under Klopp, and Alberto Moreno was certainly one who stood out in that respect.
He has impressed greatly on the whole since the German’s appointment, and he was again one of his side’s standout players on Sunday.
The Spaniard offered a constant attacking threat from left-back, and although his end product did sometimes disappoint, there was more good than bad.
Energy, positioning, delivery – Alberto Moreno's game has improved immeasurably of late. #LFC
— Danny Gallagher (@Danny7Gallagher) October 25, 2015
Defensively, Moreno was also impressive throughout. One fantastic challenge on Mane earned him a huge round of applause from the Anfield faithful, and he seems to have cut out the silly errors that plagued him in 2014/15.
The 23-year-old is not perfect by any means, but in comparison to a number of his teammates, he is playing with real heart at the moment.
He is a player with massive potential, and is beginning to show why Liverpool paid Sevilla £12 million for his service in the summer of 2014.
Lack of midfield creativity
One of the most worrying aspects of the Reds’ play this season has been a dearth of guile in the middle of the park, and it was once again apparent against Southampton.
Lucas is very much defence-minded and a master at keeping things simple, while Can is more of a marauding force than someone who will open up defences.
Jordan Henderson too – hurry up and get back Skip!! You see how much he is missed when not there! The midfield = way too pedestrian #LFC
— Anfield Talk (@Anfield_Talk) October 25, 2015
With Coutinho and Milner struggling, and Adam Lallana again proving frustrating, Liverpool really needed one of their deeper-lying midfielders to produce something.
It is something Steven Gerrard offered game in, game out, even as age caught up with him, and an area Jordan Henderson remains criminally underrated in. The captain remains a big loss.
Liverpool are failing to create chances at the moment, and while the likes of Lucas and Can aren’t primarily in the side for that reason, they need to start affecting matches more on the ball.
Rotation required in the League Cup
Having played virtually the same team twice in the space of three days, some of Liverpool’s players understandably looked shattered by the time the final whistle blew against the Saints.
Coutinho is one who certainly needs to be given the night off, in order for the Brazilian to recharge his batteries, and his similarly out-of-form teammate Milner also falls into that category.
Can has run himself into the ground in recent weeks, while Lucas has to be intelligently used in order to stay fit.
The likes of Dejan Lovren, Kolo Toure, Joe Allen and Jordon Ibe will all be desperate to prove themselves under their new manager, and Benteke and Firmino could also begin proceedings having started on the bench on Sunday.
It would be a huge risk to once again field a strong side in midweek, especially with that hugely important aforementioned clash with Chelsea on the horizon.
LIVERPOOL 1-1 SOUTHAMPTON
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