It took almost 70 minutes before Liverpool registered their first shot on target against Southampton. That is how abject the Reds were on Monday night against the Saints.
For all of Liverpool’s problems this season, scoring goals had never been one of them. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side is now badly struggling in front of goal, culminating in them losing their mojo in the title race.
The Merseyside club looked completely out of touch from start to finish, and never quite recovered after Danny Ings’ second-minute goal. The former Liverpool striker opened the scoring with a deft, looping finish after being set up by James Ward-Prowse from a free-kick.
Although Liverpool enjoyed the larger share of possession, they rarely troubled Fraser Forster in the Southampton goal. This was one of the worst Liverpool performances in the last three years.
The Reds were passive, reactive and never really showed any attacking threat, barring Sadio Mane’s feeble effort which was calmly saved by Forster.
Manchester United primed to overtake Liverpool in Premier League
When Klopp spoke ahead of the Southampton game, the German was adamant that there was nothing like “joint top of the table” – a sly dig at Manchester United, who are currently level on points with Liverpool.
However, the Reds are now set to lose their position at the top of the table. Manchester United have a game in hand against Aston Villa and will overtake their Anfield rivals if they win that game on Saturday.
Many still doubt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as title contenders, but the Red Devils are currently the most in-form team in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s defeat at Southampton means that Manchester United could now move three points clear of Klopp’s side even before their blockbuster clash at Anfield on January 17.
Toothless Liverpool experiencing surprise slump
Klopp expressed his disappointment with Liverpool’s approach to the game against Southampton. However, his biggest concern would have been his side’s lack of attacking threat.
Liverpool have now won just two of their last seven games in all competitions. They have also failed to score more than one goal in each of their last three Premier League games. Against Southampton, they managed just one shot on target.
“What was disappointing? How long have we got? The start, obviously,” the German manager told BBC Sport. “Not only the goal but the start in general. Congratulations to Southampton, they deserved it.
“You know exactly what you are going to get from them, you cannot be surprised - but we looked surprised. At the beginning, how we played, where we lost the balls, it's not rocket science. We should have done much better. We played into their hands with the start.”
Liverpool are experiencing a surprise slump, which has been compounded by the fact that the team’s strikers are currently badly misfiring. Manchester United, though, are lurking and could end the week as Premier League leaders.Published 05 Jan 2021, 14:29 IST