Liverpool failed to take a commanding position in the race for Champions League football as they slipped up at home against Southampton. They have now failed to score in four meetings with Claude Puel’s men this season.
The Reds had a golden opportunity to take the three points after being awarded a penalty in the second-half, but James Milner’s kick was well saved by Fraser Forster.
Although they still have a great chance of finishing in the top-four, this result will be a huge disappointment.
Here are three things that we learnt at Anfield…
Liverpool stuttering in race for top four
The Reds have been exciting to watch throughout this season, especially in matches against the rest of the top six.
However, they have been regularly found out against the rest of the league.
They have now dropped points in three successive matches at Anfield and it is a growing concern going into the final two matches of the season.
The Reds’ attack was bereft of ideas on Sunday and they didn’t play with the vigour that they have throughout this season.
Their remaining fixtures are against West Ham and Middlesbrough, both of which look difficult on the basis of this performance.
Manchester United have put their focus on their Europa League campaign, which should give the momentum to Liverpool in the race for the top four.
However, the Reds continue to drop points and it is set to go to the wire.
They have only scored three goals in their last four league matches and the attackers looked exhausted on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s style of play asks a lot of his players in terms of work rate and the consequences of that are starting to become visible.
They still have a great chance of finishing in the top four, but they will need to perform better in their final two matches.
Southampton are emerging as Liverpool’s bogey team
There is no love lost for Liverpool on the South Coast as the Reds have bought a lot of Southampton’s best players in recent years. The two clubs have met on four occasions this season and Saints haven’t lost a single one of them.
They knocked Liverpool out of the EFL Cup in January and managed to win both legs of the semi-final in the process.
Claude Puel’s future has been talked about in the national media, including the Telegraph, but he has shown his impressive tactical brain by shutting down Liverpool on Sunday.
This was the fourth clean sheet that the Saints have kept against the Reds and their French manager deserves a lot of credit for that.
Although they were missing Virgil van Dijk, Southampton restricted the home side to few clear-cut chances.
Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida both showed their ability in the centre of the back four, while Oriol Romeu delivered another accomplished display in midfield.
Fraser Forster has been criticised at times this season, but he made a great save to prevent James Milner from the penalty spot and a point was exactly what the visitors deserved.
Daniel Sturridge deserves a chance in the final two matches
It has been a season to forget for the England international as he has suffered from injury and found himself on the periphery of the squad.
Jurgen Klopp doesn’t seem to think that the striker suits his style of play, but he did a lot more than Divock Origi on Sunday in a shorter period of time.
During his cameo appearance, the 27-year-old caused problems with his flair on the ball and completed two dribbles during the match. Meanwhile, he completed more key passes than anyone else on the pitch with three and got two shots in on goal.
He was the most threatening player at Anfield and should have started the game.
Origi has been good for the Reds this season, but he was anonymous on Sunday and didn’t do anything during his time on the pitch.
Although his future probably lies away from Anfield, Sturridge did enough against Southampton to earn a starting berth next weekend as his side travel to face West Ham.
He is the most natural goalscorer in the squad and is fresher than the rest of the attacking options. Klopp should start him in the next two games.
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Jugen Klopp wanted him in 2016, Filip Kostic set for cut-price exit
The Serbian is set to be relegated with Hamburg.
In the summer of 2016 Liverpool were being linked with the signature of Serbian winger Filip Kostic. The Independent reported that Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur, had both watched the player, but had missed out. Hamburg instead signed Kostic from Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart for £12 million.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would have known all about Kostic through his Bundesliga links and seeing him move elsewhere would have been frustrating. But, nearly two years on from Kostic’s Hamburg move, Liverpool may feel they dodged a bullet.
This summer, if Liverpool still wanted Kostic, they could get him cheap. The reason why? His performances have not lived up to his ability since the Hamburg move. Now, the Bundesliga side look doomed to relegation. The result will be a firesale in the summer, as HSV look to meet financial demands. Kostic, being one of the most valuable players and highest-earners at the club, will be available.
Based on his form for Hamburg, Liverpool would be unlikely to take an interest in the player.
But, rather than dodging a bullet, perhaps this situation could work out perfectly for Klopp and Liverpool.
Whilst Kostic has had a rough time at Hamburg, a lot of that is down to the running of the club.
For the Serbian national team the 25-year-old has still been in good form and Liverpool might just be able to bring Kostic in at a cut-price.
With the World Cup coming up this summer, Kostic will look to shine. A deal for Liverpool before then may prove to be a masterstroke.
Liverpool can look at Kostic in two ways. One, a transfer failure they should be happy with. Two, an opportunity for a bargain this summer.
Either way Klopp and Liverpool cannot really lose.
One goal in 15 and battling relegation, Divock Origi’s woeful loan spell
The Belgian has struggled in German football and may not have a future at Liverpool.
Liverpool are currently in fine form and Jurgen Klopp’s side are having a great season. They look set to finish in the Premier League top four yet again and will be hoping to finish second. They have also booked themselves a place in the Champions League final eight.
That sort of brilliance is not being mirrored by one of their players currently out on loan. Divock Origi was signed by Liverpool from Lille in 2014 after impressing in France and with the Belgian national team.
The bullish forward has shown glimpses of his talent for Liverpool. Last season he played 43 times for the club, scoring 11 goals. However, Liverpool decided he would be best off elsewhere and Origi was shipped out on loan in the summer to VfL Wolfsburg.
It has certainly not worked out for the Belgian.
The team have suffered this season. After losing more key players in the summer wolfsburg have spent most of the Bundesliga campaign battling relegation. They are currently on a winless run of six games. They are currently level on points with Mainz in the final relegation spot, which involves a play-off with the third best side from 2.Bundesliga.
These were not the hopes of Wolfsburg fans before the season and Origi has not been a shining light in their dreadful campaign.
The 22-year-old has scored just five goals in 26 games this season, with just one goal in his last 15 appearances.
Such form is making it increasingly unlikely that the Liverpool forward will be heading to the World Cup with Belgium this summer, which was one of the main reasons behind the move to Germany.
Liverpool have had high hopes for Origi. But at the moment it is looking like those expectations may have been misplaced.
Origi, who went nine games without a goal at one point this season, must now improve if he is to help Wolfsburg stave off a seemingly unthinkable relegation this season.
If not, it is hard to see Origi having a future at Liverpool at all.
Is Jurgen Klopp moulding Jordan Henderson into Liverpool’s Michael Carrick?
The Liverpool midfielder is finally starting to move the ball forward in brisker fashion.
Liverpool are currently putting up a great fight in the race to be best of the rest in the Premier League this season. At the weekend they continued that form, by getting the better of Newcastle United at Anfield. Plenty of players shined in that performance, including Jordan Henderson.
The midfielder is one of English football’s more divisive figures. Finding a follower of the England national team that is a fan of Henderson can sometimes be a needle in a haystack mission.
Yet he continues to be a regular in the improving Liverpool side, but he has certainly made changes to his playing style recently.
One criticism often laid at Henderson’s door is his negative passing frequency. For many England fans, and Liverpool fans, watching Henderson pass sideways to a full-back or back to his centre-backs became a far too common occurrence. Recently, however, Henderson has become more probing.
Now the 27-year-old is changing his game and is constantly looking to get the ball forward. It helps of course that Henderson is now playing with such talents as Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. The movement in front of Henderson is becoming world-class and now he is finally starting to provide more direct ammunition.
To compare him to another player, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick springs to mind.
The greatest attribute the 36-year-old has is that ability to get the ball and, before anything else, see if he has a pass on ahead of him.
It is a trait currently being shown by his potential long-term replacement Scott McTominay.
Henderson is finally starting to adapt his game to play in a much more forward thinking and brisk fashion.
Such expeditious play from Liverpool’s midfield maestro combines perfectly with his obvious physical ability and tackling nous.
Hopefully he can continue to become more and more like Carrick. If he does then Liverpool and England’s front-men will be extremely thankful.
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