Another away game in the Premier League saw Liverpool drop points, this time to Southampton. A 1-0 defeat ended a 12-game unbeaten run in the league and further highlighted the Reds' vast problems across the pitch.
Former Liverpool man Danny Ings scored in the 2nd minute of the game. A dinked freekick from James Ward-Prowse found the Englishman, who cleverly chipped the ball over Alisson and into the far corner. It was a very impressive finish from Ings, but Liverpool’s defending from the set-piece was also poor.
Jordan Henderson was a yard further back than Liverpool’s high line and thus played Ings onside. Trent Alexander-Arnold also failed to track his man and missed the ball when trying to clear it. Both of these errors gave Ings the chance, who took it well.
The remainder of the game saw Liverpool have a lot of possession as they tried to break down a resolute Southampton defence. The Saints defended in numbers and stopped Jurgen Klopp’s side from creating dangerous chances.
Liverpool managed just one shot on target in the entire game, which was a scuffed effort from Sadio Mane. He was the Reds’ best player on the night but that is not saying much as everyone failed to impress.
There were a couple of potential fouls on Liverpool players that could have been given as penalties and freekicks. But none were given by referee Andre Marriner.
Ultimately, Liverpool can only blame themselves for the result and another missed opportunity to create a gap at the top of the league.
Liverpool must sign a centre back in transfer window
If there was anything that can be learnt from this game, it was that Liverpool need to sign another centre back in the January transfer window.
Henderson partnered Fabinho at the back. Despite not playing too badly, the captain’s energy was missed in the midfield. Liverpool usually play out from the back and it can only be presumed that Klopp wanted that to happen, therefore opting for Henderson. However, this meant that his side lacked intensity in midfield, making them look predictable and weak.
Henderson’s surprise cameo at centre-back could also damage the confidence of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips. Both have played reasonably well when called upon and may feel annoyed to see a midfielder chosen ahead of them.
If Liverpool want to retain the Premier League, they must sign a centre back. Failure to do so will cost them greatly. The Reds will be making a massive mistake if they believe that they can without doing so. It would be very arrogant of them to think this.
Slump needs to be addressed
Liverpool’s run of poor results over the Christmas period has caused great concern. The Reds did a very good job in getting themselves top at Christmas with wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace. However, since then they have gone three games without a win, taking only two points from a potential nine in that time.
Liverpool’s away form has also been subject to criticism and as the poor results away from home continue, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
Teams have noticed that Liverpool struggle to play against a low block and become laboured. This makes it difficult for them to create good chances and to score. The front three seem to be particularly struggling with facing this and are all finding it hard to score.
A silver lining that Liverpool can take from this is that every other team at the top of the table have also had slumps during the season. Many teams took a while to find their form whilst others are also currently on a dip in form.
Liverpool can take positivity from this as it looks to be normal for the top teams to have a tricky period. If this is Liverpool’s then it is important to get through it as quickly as possible and get back to winning ways.