Another game, another draw. 1-1 has become something of a strange regularity for Liverpool in recent weeks, finishing with the same scoreline in 7 of the last 9 matches in all competitions, which is quite extraordinary. The familiar lack of cutting edge was an issue once again, until the 77th minute when Benteke made the breakthrough with a terrific header. It looked as if Klopp would be on the way to his first win as Liverpool manager, until a sloppy set piece goal scored by Mane transformed what would have been cause for celebration into yet another frustrating night for the Reds. Here’s how I rated our players.
Simon Mignolet- 6/10
Mignolet was largely untroubled throughout the match as Liverpool dominated possession for long periods and limited Southampton’s attempts on goal. He made a couple of good saves, but was too static at the free kick from which Mane stole in at the back post to bundle in the equaliser. Not a disaster but could have done better.
Nathaniel Clyne- 6/10
Solid but unspectacular, Clyne covered his defensive duties well, and got forward into some excellent attacking positions. There were a few penetrating runs but he still can improve on his delivery which is not always accurate enough. At times he had plenty of space but appeared to lack the confidence to take on his man. Perhaps this will come with time as he regularly showed his offensive abilities for Southampton to great effect.
Martin Skrtel- 6/10
Skrtel has been shaky of late, but this was an improved performance. He did the basics well, was strong in the air and cleared his lines sensibly. Made some important interventions without ever being truly tested.
Mamadou Sakho- 6/10
The Frenchman has been imperious in recent games, and overall this was another strong, aggressive display of defensive authority. For the most part, he showed his usual composure and guile on the ball, although on two or three occasions he misplaced some sloppy passes in dangerous areas, which thankfully didn’t come to anything.
Alberto Moreno- 8/10
Moreno’s fine run of form continued with another impressive all-round performance. He constantly provided an outlet, bursting forward with pace and purpose, although he should have tested the goal keeper in the first half when he overhit his shot from a promising position inside the box. His defending seems to be improving, and he made one phenomenal recovery tackle, sprinting back to catch up with Mane who had raced through on goal, before making the perfect sliding challenge to clear the danger.
Lucas Leiva- 9/10
Easily Liverpool’s man of the match, Lucas is also enjoying a fine spell of form, and long may it continue. He was always in the right position, shielding the defence and breaking up play with some vital interceptions and strong tackles. His passing was crisp and accurate, helping move possession through the midfield with pace. On current form, Lucas looks like that defensive midfielder we’ve been craving for a long time. Long may it continue.
Emre Can- 6/10
A mixed game for the German. In the first half, he was full of energy and helped Liverpool dominate possession, enthusiastically helping win back possession as soon as possible. His desire to drive forward with the ball was good to see, although as the game progressed his decision making and quality of passing gradually deteriorated. He has played an awful lot of high intensity football recently, which could explain his dip in quality in the latter stages.
James Milner- 6/10
With Liverpool desperately looking for a breakthrough, it was Milner who finally came up with the perfect delivery, whipping in a delicious right wing cross for Benteke to power home. It was a fantastic assist, but unfortunately it was a rare moment of quality from another disappointing performance by Milner. Too often he stands out for his willingness to run non-stop around the pitch for 90 minutes, but it’s about time we saw some consistent skill and class in midfield to match his work rate. Too many displaced passes, poor set pieces and clumsy challenges. Picked up a one match suspension for another yellow card.
Adam Lallana- 5/10
A notable step down in quality from his last two performances, Lallana struggled to make an impact against his former side. Perhaps the constant jeering from the Southampton fans got to his head, but Lallana was largely a peripheral figure until being replaced by Firmino midway through the second half. Some nice turns and touches, but no real end product.
Philippe Coutinho- 4/10
Coutinho is arguably still the most talented player in this Liverpool squad, but his current run of form is a cause for concern. Too many misplaced passes and wild shots from long range, Coutinho looks as if he’s forcing the issue to often rather than relaxing and playing with freedom. Without Sturridge, it appears as though he doesn’t quite trust his team mates to make the runs for him to pick out. Perhaps a couple of games out of the firing line would do him good.
Divock Origi- 3/10
Contributed virtually nothing for the first half, after which he was replaced by Benteke. Far too often he drifted out wide to collect the ball, depriving Liverpool of any physical presence in Southampton’s penalty area. Offered no goal threat whatsoever, and doesn’t look at all ready to be leading the line in the Premier League at this stage.
Christian Benteke- 8/10
Completely transformed Liverpool’s attack after coming on at half time- the step up in quality between Benteke and Origi was clear. He made clever runs in behind, held the ball up and linked play nicely, before leaping to meet Milner’s cross with a monumental bullet header into the top corner, which should have been enough to give Liverpool the 3 points. Now he’s fully fit, his presence in the starting lineup is a necessity.
Roberto Firmino- 7/10
We’ve hardly seen anything from the Brazilian so far this season due to a combination of injuries and playing out of position. This was arguably his brightest cameo thus far, and playing in the number ten role, Liverpool’s attack looked much more threatening with Firmino on the pitch. There were some mazy dribbles and neat turns in the box. In the coming games, he needs to build on this as Firmino will have a key part to play during the absence of Sturridge and Coutinho’s dip in form.
Jordon Ibe- N/A
Only played the final ten minutes and made a minimal impact on the match.