|Match Statisitcs||Match Report||Match Gallery||Head to Head|
|Premier League, 19th November 2016, St Marys Stadium, Southampton|
|Southampton||Kick Off - 15:00pm||Liverpool|
Half Time 0:0
Liverpool had to settle for a point after they were held to a goalless draw by Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds dominated the contest throughout, but were unable to breach a stubborn Saints rear-guard on a rain-swept south coast.
The best opportunity of the first half fell the way of Sadio Mane against his former club, though he was denied by a fingertip save from Fraser Forster.
Meanwhile, in the second half, Roberto Firmino stabbed wide of the post when put clean through as the game ended without a goal.
The key points…
Excellent Forster save denied Mane the opener in first half.
Firmino rolled wide when clean through in second period.
Clyne headed inches off target in final moments.
Reds remain top of the Premier League, level on points with Manchester City.
The team news…
Despite speculation surrounding his fitness, Coutinho was named in the starting line-up to join Firmino and Mane in attack.
In total, two changes were made by Jürgen Klopp to the last line-up he deployed against Watford a fortnight ago, with Dejan Lovren and Georginio Wijnaldum coming in for Lucas Leiva and Adam Lallana. Emre Can made his 100th appearance for the club.
The first half…
There was a vibrant start to proceedings on the south coast as Liverpool looked to pick up where they’d left off prior to the international break, quickly asserting their grip on possession.
With Southampton sitting deep, the Reds pressed, probed and moved the ball from side to side looking to fashion an opening.
But the visitors were required to be patient in their approach – and their first attempt at goal did not arrive until the 28th minute.
Coutinho’s cross-field ball to Nathaniel Clyne opened up the Saints and the full-back’s low delivery was helped across the box by a combination of Can and Wijnaldum to Mane, whose first-time smack towards the top corner was foiled by a flying save from Fraser Forster.
It was Coutinho who had Liverpool’s next effort, skimming an effort across the rain-soaked turf from 25 yards but wide of the upright.
Next, only a last-ditch block from Virgil van Dijk denied Mane a close-range on goal after Wijnaldum’s round-the-corner pass had sent him hurtling into space inside the area.
The Dutch midfielder then had an effort of his own, striking over the bar from the edge of the area as the game entered stoppage-time to ensure the teams returned to the dressing rooms without an indent on the scoresheet.
The second half…
Liverpool made an asserting opening to the second period – and after Firmino had a penalty appeal waved away, Mane stung the palms of Forster with a low blast from an angle.
Moments later, Southampton had their captain, Jose Fonte, to thank for preventing Coutinho from breaking the deadlock when Firmino sent him clear inside the box, only for the No.10 to be thwarted by the defender’s lunging block challenge.
Matip and then Lovren caused panic in the home defence at successive set pieces, but the Saints fashioned their best opportunity when Cedric Soares' cross picked out Charlie Austin, who bulleted a header just off target under pressure from Clyne.
Back at the other end and Can was left clutching his head in his hands as he dragged a left-foot effort narrowly wide of the far post after collecting a pass from Firmino in space.
On 66 minutes, Firmino spurned a glorious chance to put Liverpool in front when a Coutinho pass dissected the hosts’ defence, but his attempt with the outside of the boot from eight yards out rolled wide.
With the game edging ever closer to a conclusion, Klopp opted to introduce Daniel Sturridge in place of Can for the final 13 minutes – and the striker was involved instantly and his hanging ball to the back post was headed agonisingly wide of the far stick by Clyne.
Firmino then brought a save from Forster with a clip from the corner of the box as Liverpool piled on the pressure in the final stages.
But there was to be no breakthrough, as the points were shared at St Mary’s.