Liverpool 0-0 Southampton: Forster foils sputtering Reds
The Liverpool attack again came up empty against Southampton, shut out for the fourth time this season against the Saints in all competitions as a drab game ended 0-0 at Anfield.
The Reds produced 17 shots, eight on target, but could not get by Fraser Forster who was massive in net for Southampton under heavy pressure, saving a penalty midway through the second half.
Overall, the first half was a drag. Liverpool was clearly the more attacking side for the opening half-hour, but couldn’t manage a shot on target until an ambitious but meek effort by Philippe Coutinho in the 24th minute that was easily collected by Forster.
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Jurgen Klopp decided not to change his side despite having Adam Lallana at his disposal on the bench, and the German struck a pained figure on the sideline as his team struggled to break down a structured Southampton. Coutinho looked to turn on the style with a backheel at the top of the box before the hour mark, but Emre Can didn’t see it coming and the ball squirted through untouched.
James Milner was pesky down the left as Liverpool maintained all the meaningful possession, but Southampton packed the box and he was unable to find teammates. Southampton looked to press harder after bringing on Nathan Redmond, and it gave the Reds some problems.
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Liverpool appeared to have the breakthrough after referee Bobby Madley pointed to the spot for a hand-ball on Liverpool defender Jack Stephens after 64 minutes. The penalty was incredibly harsh on Southampton, but with Stephens’ elbow coming up and unknowingly hitting the ball, the call seemed fair. Unfortunately for the Reds, Milner’s low penalty was saved emphatically by Forster, and the scoreline remained untouched.
1 - James Milner has failed to score a Premier League penalty for the first time since November 2009 for Aston Villa vs Bolton. Denied.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 7, 2017
Klopp finally made a change with 22 minutes remaining, bringing on both Lallana and Daniel Sturridge. Southampton looked to have an injection of life with the addition of Shane Long, but Liverpool always looked the more likely to score. Coutinho again tried a curler from distance, but again put it right into the waiting arms of Forster.
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With 12 minutes left, Liverpool again had a big chance as Lallana found Sturridge who got free with a smart touch, but it was just too heavy and Forster was there to collect the weak attempt on net.
Forster was again needed in added time as substitute Marko Grujic delivered a powerful header, and the England international produced a stunning acrobatic leap to tip it over the bar.
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The disappointing draw for Liverpool sees them still vulnerable in the top four, moving to 70 points and into third place but still just a point ahead of Manchester City and four in front of Manchester United. Southampton’s point sees them jump barely back into the top half on goal differential, even with Bournemouth and West Ham on points.