This was the fourth game this season that Liverpool failed to score against the Saints.
Despite dominating possession, Liverpool could not find a way through and the writing was on the wall when James Milner had a second-half penalty-kick saved.
Southampton did not have a single shot on target and did not register a single shot on goal in the first-half, but leave Anfield with a hard-earned point.
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.
Here are five things we learned from the action...
Fraser Forster silences his naysayers
So negative has some of the fan reaction been to Forster’s recent performances that, at the end of last month, Southampton manager Claude Puel felt it necessary to publicly defend his goalkeeper.
“A team for me is a collective,” he remarked. When we speak about the defence we always talk about three, four or five players responsible for protecting the goal. It’s not just the goalkeeper.”
But Forster’s fine display against Liverpool, which included a superb penalty save to deny James Milner, will have gone some way to answering his critics.
Liverpool desperately missed Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana
Mane and Lallana are two of Liverpool’s best players – if not their best players full stop – and so it is no surprise that the club missed the pair of them against Southampton.
But it is concerning just how glaringly they miss them. Without them, Liverpool’s midfield can appear awfully static with a dire lack of penetration and creativity.
Liverpool’s midfield trio of Lucas Leiva, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum made two key passes and embarked on just two forward dribbles between them all match. In his last Premier League outing, against Everton, Mane made more than that by himself. And he was subbed off injured after 57 minutes.
Claude Puel gets his tactics spot on
Puel’s pragmatic decision to drop Nathan Redmond to the bench for this match revealed that the Frenchman had taken the decision to grind out a result against Liverpool – and he was successful.
Southampton may have failed to have a single shot on goal in the first-half of a match since 2012, but they defended manfully and were successful in frustrating their opponents.
Their defence deserves a lot of credit – especially in the continued absence of Virgil van Dijk – while Oriol Romeu, who made more tackles than any of his team-mates, was imperious sitting just in front of them all.
Liverpool may well come to rue this result
Liverpool’s final game of the season, a home match against a Middlesbrough side almost certain to have been relegated, looks simple enough. But their next match against West Ham looks an altogether different proposition.
Having struggled at the London Stadium all season, the Hammers were superb there last time out, ending Tottenham’s title charge and ending their faint relegation worries.
With rumours abound that the West Ham board told Slaven Bilic he must win his final two home matches of the season to keep his job, his team will be incredibly motivated. Southampton at home looked the more winnable fixture, and Liverpool’s profligacy at Anfield on Sunday could cost them dear in their campaign to finish in the top-four.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool remain a work in progress
Before the match, Opta published a statistic that generated an awful lot of interest. After 65 Premier League games in charge of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has an identical record to that of his predecessor, Brendan Rodgers: W33, D18, L14.
It didn’t take long for a number of fans an pundits to turn this stat into a stick to beat Klopp with, supposed evidence of a lack of damning lack of progression over the last two seasons. In reality, that’s a lazy conclusion to jump to.
Rodgers’s first 65 league games took included Liverpool’s finest ever Premier League campaign, for starters. It was only towards the end of his period at the club that his previously impressive win ratio began to slide. There is also an argument that the league as a whole is much stronger now than it was a few years ago. Of course Liverpool remain a work in progress, but only the churlish would argue that they have not made strides forward under the German.Reuse content