James Milner: Liverpool performance at Southampton wasn't off the pace, we just lacked final finishing touch

James Milner: Liverpool performance at Southampton wasn't off the pace, we just lacked final finishing touch

Converted Liverpool left-back James Milner felt that the Reds' performance in their goalless draw with Southampton wasn't below-par, but that their finishing was to blame for not coming away with more than a point.

Charlie Malam

James Milner says Liverpool's performance showed no signs of post-international break fatigue although they drew 0-0 with Southampton at St Mary's and that rather their finishing was not up to standard.

The Reds' inability to check in on their goalscoring opportunities halted a four-game winning streak on the South Coast, despite controlling proceedings for much of the 90 minutes.

Yet Milner, now retired from international duty for England, believes his teammates weren't suffering from any ill-effects of being in action for their countries and that it was simply an underwhelming off-day day for them in front of goal.

Reds' final finish "wasn't there" admits Englishman

The 30-year-old, once again playing in his converted left-back role, insisted that Liverpool produced a "pretty good performance" in his opinion and that he could not "remember them [Southampton] having too many chances."

Milner told Liverpool's official website that they "dominated the game" against "a good side" and insisted that it was "frustrating" that they "didn't take" their chances - saying that creating them "was the hard part."

He added that they were at full sharpness - despite Jürgen Klopp's claims beforehand that they would struggle to recreate the level of performance they produced in their 6-1 thrashing of Watford before the break.

Milner continued: "That's maybe something you worry about after the international breaks, but it wasn't like we were off the pace.

"We were on top for the majority of the game and we created the chances, but that final finish wasn't there."

Saints were forced to defend because of our attacking play, insists Milner

The home side largely defended deep and in numbers as they sought to deny Liverpool the time and space in the final third to create opportunities.

Yet Klopp's side still managed to do so, and Milner believes the Saints' unusually defensive approach was because of the quality that they have shown this season so far and also on the afternoon.

He insisted that Claude Puel's team "tried to attack" early on but that Liverpool "pegged them back and got on the front foot" which meant their opponents "fell into that pattern" of sitting back.

Milner lauded them as a "good team" who are "well organised" and even suggested that the Saints are "disappointed with where they are in the table" because it doesn't serve as a "true reflection of what a good side they are."

The Reds' No.7 added: "We're disappointed [not to win] but it's a point and a clean sheet, which is the least we should be getting."