Liverpool failed to take their chances against a well-drilled Southampton side at St Mary’s on Saturday, but a cleansheet was a plus point in the eventual stalemate.
Southampton 0-0 Liverpool
St Mary’s Stadium, Anfield
November 19, 2016
Loris Karius (out of 10) – 6
It was a seventh straight start in the Premier League for the German, and he had a solid, trouble-free afternoon on the south coast – with no shots on target from the opposition.
He dealt well with a first-half punch, but was virtually a spectator for the entire match, as Liverpool bossed possession.
Nathaniel Clyne – 5.5
Clyne is never the most flamboyant of full-backs, and he was fairly subdued against his former team.
The 25-year-old looked a little short of ideas on the ball at times, when more creativity was called for, but he dealt well with the dangerous Sofiane Boufal.
Had a great chance to score just his second Liverpool goal late in the day, but headed Daniel Sturridge‘s cross agonisingly wide.
Joel Matip – 8
Another commanding 90 minutes from the Reds’ centre-back.
There is a presence about Matip that has added a huge amount to the defence, not least his height, and he was rock-solid.
He got rid of the ball when it was called for, but was also classy in possession, and read the game well. Made an important early block to deny Ryan Bertrand, but did miss a good chance at the other end.
Missed a decent chance from a cross though in the first half.
Dejan Lovren – 7
Lovren was booed throughout by his former fans, but on the whole, he dealt well with the abuse and kept his cool – unlike last season in this game.
Some stray passes in the first-half suggested he was a little rattled, but this was a mature performance that we didn’t see in his early days at Anfield.
His confidence seemed to grow as the game progressed.
James Milner – 6
Like Clyne, Milner was more solid than spectacular.
Defensively, he was again largely sound, and while he offered an outlet down the left flank in the second-half, there was little to shout about in terms of his final ball.
Some of his corners left a lot to be desired.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Henderson has grown in stature hugely this season, and this was another display that exuded authority and leadership.
His pace and power in the middle of the park helped break up Southampton attacks a number of times, and while his passing was not exactly expansive, he was neat and tidy on the ball.
The Liverpool captain looks the part at the base of the Reds’ midfield now, although he had been more noticeable in the weeks prior to the trip to St Mary’s.
Emre Can – 5.5
An up-and-down performance from the young German.
He was often one of the few players on the pitch to take a risk in the middle of the park and look to make something happen, but there was a clumsiness to his play that was frustrating.
One poor pass almost led to Charlie Austin heading Saints in front after the interval, and he shot harmlessly wide soon after.
All in all, it was an adequate day at the office, but he didn’t possess Adam Lallana‘s slick use of the ball.
The Dutchman came in for the injured Lallana, and like so many of Liverpool’s players, it was an efficient but ultimately forgettable afternoon.
The 26-year-old showed good awareness to set up up Sadio Mane for a great first-half chance, and he was tenacious in his off-the-ball work.
One hopeful shot flew over just before half-time, but that was Wijnaldum’s only real moment of note in the game. Probably needs to offer more of a goal threat in games like this.
Sadio Mane – 6.5
Although Mane wasn’t at his best against his former club, he still often looked Liverpool’s most dangerous player.
The Senegalese forward was thwarted by a superb Fraser Forster save before the interval, and Van Dijk was forced into a magnificent block to keep him out too.
Better displays will come his way as the season goes on.
Jurgen Klopp took the gamble and played a potentially tired and unfit Coutinho from the start, but it was a decision that backfired, in hindsight.
The Reds’ star man just didn’t look at the races at St Mary’s, with his speed of thought and execution a far cry from what we saw before the international break.
He had a great chance to open the scoring shortly after half-time, but he was ponderousness when clean-through, which summed up his day. Booked late on, outlining his frustration.
Roberto Firmino – 6
Firmino didn’t feature for Brazil as much as Coutinho during the international break, and it showed, in what was a more lively showing.
Admittedly, this wasn’t the South American in full flow, but his work-rate off the ball was excellent, and he was always looking to create something.
The former Hoffenheim man missed a sitter to snatch all three points, unfortunately, with his finish uncharacteristically wayward.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Can 78′ ) – 6
The striker looked a threat when he came on, and his inch-perfect cross should have been converted by Clyne. Didn’t get a chance to show his clinical finishing that the side had missed.
Divock Origi (on for Mane 90′) – n/a
No time to make an impact.
Jurgen Klopp – 6
It’s not often that Klopp makes an error, but as mentioned, his decision to play Coutinho from the start didn’t work out.
It always felt like a risk, given the Brazilian’s international commitments, and starting Sturridge instead made more sense.
Liverpool’s manager arguably made his first substitution too late as well, with Sturridge only given 12 minutes to change the game.