Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster’s attempts to intimidate James Milner before the penalty he missed was “not how sportsman should work”, after a frustrating draw which leaves the team still uncertain of a top four finish.
Forster stood over Milner and spoke to him as he placed the ball on the penalty spot, before appearing to put a divot of turf on the spot, whilst two members of the visiting side were also booked for dissent and time-wasting, having been justifiably penalised for Jack Stephens’ handball. Milner’s miss was the first time in nine years he has failed to convert from the spot.
Klopp – who was also clearly frustrated by Southampton’s negative mindset – said of the gamesmanship: “I really don’t like it to make a story of it. You saw what they did. Why do you need my say on it? On one side you say it is very smart because [Milner] missed and on the other not sportsmanship. Two yellow cards for them and with the time delay, I don’t know how long Forster needed for his kicks, four minutes, that is ambitious. But I have nothing to do with it. Whatever I say we look like bad losers.”
Liverpool 0 Southampton 0 player ratings
Liverpool 0 Southampton 0 player ratings
1/22 Simon Mignolet – 5 out of 10
He was only forced to make a small number of saves, so it was an easy afternoon for the keeper.
2/22 Nathaniel Clyne – 6 out of 10
He was charging up and down the channels, but at times he was leaving Liverpool vulnerable the back when he was struggling to track back.
3/22 Dejan Lovren – 5 out of 10
Was clumsy in his challenges which gave away a cluster of unnecessary fouls. However, he held the line well at the back and used possession well.
4/22 Joel Matip – 6 out of 10
It was a relatively straight forward afternoon for the defender due to a lack of attacks from the Saints, but he did his job when he was called upon.
5/22 James Milner – 4 out of 10
He missed from the penalty spot, which denied Liverpool the chance to take the lead. Despite an impressive record from the spot, Forster came out on top this time.
6/22 Emre Can – 5 out of 10
Appeared to run out of ideas in possession – when he was on the edge of the box he was just giving the ball away.
7/22 Lucas – 6 out of 10
He was pumping balls up to the strikers, but his efforts went unrewarded. He looked energetic, but he came out second best in a number of 50/50 challenges.
8/22 Georgino Wijnaldum – 6 out of 10
A textbook display from Wijnaldum in the middle, but sometimes he needs to use the simple option as opposed to always going for the long ball.
9/22 Roberto Firmino – 7 out of 10
Was Liverpool’s best player in the first half – he appeared to have no end of energy and his movement off the ball was creating chances.
10/22 Philippe Coutinho – 4 out of 10
His movement was good, but when he was on the ball he failed to take any of his chances. He looked as though he needed an injection of confidence.
11/22 Divock Origi – 6 out of 10
He looked menacing when he was charging at the Southampton defence, but he was just lacking the final product.
12/22 Fraser Forster – 9 out of 10
His exquisite penalty save kept the scores level and he made a collection of crucial stops throughout.
13/22 Cedric Soares – 7 out of 10
His repeated interceptions and clearances stopped a handful of Liverpool moves. He also used possession well from the back.
14/22 Jack Stephens – 5 out of 10
His moment of inanity for the handball was rescued by Forsters excellent save. Aside from that he defended well today.
15/22 Maya Yoshida – 5 out of 10
He was playing very deep, which was allowing the Liverpool to have a lot of space going forward.
16/22 Ryan Bertrand – 6 out of 10
He was crashing into challenges, holding his position well and looked more than capable of maintaining the Liverpool forwards.
17/22 Dusan Tadic – 6 out of 10
He was finding himself in all of the right places, but just lacked service throughout.
18/22 Steven Davis – 6 out of 10
Was highly influential in the Southampton side today and he started a handful of promising moves for the visitors.
19/22 Oriol Romeu – 7 out of 10
His bruising challenge on Origi marked his authority in the early stages of the game. He battled hard and tackled well.
20/22 James Ward-Prowse – 6 out of 10
His deliveries into the area were menacing, but the Saints lacked an aerial threat so his crosses were never converted.
21/22 Sofiane Boufal – 4 out of 10
Aside from the occasional pass, Boufal had no input to the game today. He was constantly marked and did not seem to want the ball.
22/22 Manolo Gabbiadini – 4 out of 10
The striker went missing at times today and he failed to make any real impact when in possession.
Referee Bobby Madley booked James Ward-Prowse for taking a bottle out of Forster’s net to waste time after kick was awarded, Cedric Soares went into the book for dissent and Forster was slow to leave the six-yard box for his goal line though, though was not booked.
Klopp also said the dryness of the Anfield pitch – which is being relaid this summer - had been a problem. “We gave all the water we had and after 15 minutes it was really dry, the wind and a little bit… It was difficult,” he observed. “You could see it – a lot passes you thought ‘why are they playing this?’ but it was difficult. In a possession game you need to have the best, if possible, in a home game especially, the best circumstances. Today we couldn’t have this.”
Klopp’s prime frustration, though, will be his side’s failure to score in 360 minutes of football this season – despite 54 shots on goal in the teams’ two Premier League games and two legs of a League Cup semi-final.
“Southampton played in a specific way,” Klopp said. “Some people will say everyone will play like this but they will not. We needed to score. They were very disciplined, very deep. It is all about scoring one and we couldn’t do this. It made life not easy.”
Southampton manager Claude Puel rejected the criticism of Klopp by saying that the penalty should not have been awarded.
“I think this penalty is harsh,” he said. “Jack turns and the ball falls in his arms but it was too harsh to concede a goal against this penalty. It was an important save. For me it was not a penalty. On the other side we could have the sending off of [Simon] Mignolet when he touch the ball outside his box."
Only when Klopp sent on substitutes Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana did Liverpool begin to show more creativity, and the German admitted that his side may now need to win their last two games, at West Ham and then at home to Middlesbrough.
“Before [today] we needed three [wins] and now I would say two would not be bad but now we concentrate on West Ham. They are in a positive season finishing mood. We have to try and get a result somehow. You saw the[m beat] Tottenham . We are still fighting and nobody gave up. We have one point more than we had before. The best manager I had and the most experienced in these situations said at the end of the season this point will be really welcome. We will see. We have to analyse this game. We will do it one more time.”Reuse content