Liverpool suffered another disappointing result against a south coast club, as they went down to a 1-0 defeat against Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg. Jurgen Klopp’s men had failed to score against Plymouth in the FA Cup at the weekend and they misfired again at St Mary’s. Nathan Redmond scored the only goal of the game to hand the Saints a precious one-goal advantage heading into the second leg at Anfield. It could have been worse for Liverpool, who were indebted to a couple of fine saves from goalkeeper Loris Karius. Here’s how Klopp’s men rated – feel free to tell us what you think.
Loris Karius – 7.5 (star man)
One of only three players to retain his place from the team that played out a goalless draw against Plymouth Argyle. Powerless to prevent Nathan Redmond from opening the scoring – but he pulled off two quality saves from the same player in the first half, the second of which was a superb reflex stop. But for him, the tie could have effectively been over.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6
As usual, the former Southampton defender carried an attacking threat down the right flank, but was suspect at the back and found the advancing Ryan Bertrand difficult to handle. Clyne lost his man in the build-up to the goal, a point which was largely unnoticed as Klavan’s horrendous mis-kick stole the spotlight.
Dejan Lovren – 7
Continues to grow in stature under Klopp after a shaky start to the German’s reign, and looked the most assured of Liverpool’s defenders. Unusually, he found himself near the opposition’s penalty area on several occasions as Liverpool searched for an equaliser. Not the night he would have hoped for on his return to the south coast, though.
Ragnar Klavan – 5
At fault for Southampton’s opener when he completely fluffed his kick while attempting a regulation clearance, this was an uncomfortable night at the office for Klavan. His error appeared to affect his confidence for the rest of the match as the pace and guile of Jay Rodriguez caused him problems.
James Milner – 6.5
It says much about Milner that he has made the left-back position his own despite it being unnatural to him. The Yorkshireman is one of the most dependable players in English football. Here again, he carried out his defensive responsibilities with aplomb, even if he was less of a threat than usual going forward.
Emre Can – 6
Could not get into the game as Southampton dominated the first half, but became more of an influence as the match progressed. Lots of hustle and bustle and always keen to put his foot in, the versatile German snapped into tackles and generally made a nuisance of himself. There was little creativity though and too few forward passes.
Lucas Leiva – 6
Sitting in a deep-lying midfield role alongside Can, Lucas acted as a shield for Liverpool’s defence. But he couldn’t stop the wave of attacks from the home side, particularly in the first period. His late slip almost proved costly as Redmond came within a whisker of doubling his side’s advantage ahead of the return leg.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 5.5
The Dutchman is a neat and tidy footballer, but this was one of his least effective performances. Mostly anonymous in the first half, he struggled to have any attacking impact as Liverpool toiled. It was no surprise when he was the first player to be substituted, making way for the fit-again Philippe Coutinho on the hour mark.
Adam Lallana – 6.5
Playing in a free role on his old stomping ground, Lallana tried his best all night to play between the lines and be a creative spark. Showed flashes of the form that has elevated him to a new level this campaign, but he also gave the ball away uncharacteristically on several occasions. Perhaps he was a little too eager to impress against his former employers.
Roberto Firmino- 7
Forced Southampton keeper Fraser Forster into a smart save with a snapshot in the opening exchanges. Embarked on several mazy runs that came to nothing, but always looked threatening when he was on the ball. Substituted in favour of Divock Origi with 10 minutes left as Klopp attempted to freshen things up.
Daniel Sturridge – 6
Sturridge has endured a frustrating season with the Reds and will have been eager to make an impression to stake a claim for a regular spot. But he struggled to get into the game, although there was a distinct lack of service upon which the England striker relies. He looks to be at a crossroads in his Liverpool career. Could he be on his way out of Anfield this summer?
Philippe Coutinho – 6
Replaced Wijnaldum with 30 minutes remaining on his long-awaited comeback from injury. Twice blazed over from long range though, which was symptomatic of Liverpool’s frustrating evening.
Divock Origi – 6
The Belgian frontman was a late arrival in place of Firmino but had little time to make an impression this time.