19/11/2016: Saints 0-0 Liverpool
Saints picked up a well-earned point with a hard fought draw against Liverpool at St Mary's. The home side survived a few scary moments, but did well to nullify Jurgen Klopp's men for the most part. Claude Puel's men ended the day in 10th position.
Liverpool weren't able to cut through Saints like they had done at the start of the previous two fixtures at St Mary's. The home side played fairly narrow and compact. Saints were happy to absorb pressure, but allowed Liverpool's danger men very little space in the areas that mattered. Puel's side once again pressed intermittently, but struggled to build up any sort of forward momentum. Liverpool dominated possession, but didn't look especially slick on the ball.
There were very few chances for either side in the first-half. On 28 Sadio Mane found himself in space on the left of the box. The striker's shot looked to be curling into the top corner, only for Fraser Forster to pull off a stunning diving save. On 40 Mane looked to be in again, only for Virgil van Dijk to deny him with a perfectly timed challenge.
Liverpool upped their game in the second-half, and created some more chances, but Saints remained solid as a unit. The visitors attempted to stretch the pitch a bit more. Jose Fonte denied Coutinho on 49. Saints had their best and only real chance on 58, with Charlie Austin heading agonisingly wide of the post.
On 64 Emre Can shot wide after finding himself in space on the left. Roberto Firmino was presented with a clear opening on 66, only to poke the ball just past the post. Saints managed to stymie Liverpool for a while after that, but the away side came back once again during the final 10. Clyne headed just past the far post on 80. There were a few more nervy moments in and around the box, but in the end Saints held on for a worthy point.
A decent point in the end all things considered. Saints were extremely well organised from a defensive point of view. Everybody knew their roles and really limited Liverpool as an attacking force. Going forward Saints' weaknesses were exposed once again, however. With the home side spending so much of the game defending it was going to require a bit of individual magic to break Liverpool down, and Saints just didn't have it. The team still lacks a complete centre forward, and could really do with addressing this issue in January.
Forster: 8. Made a few superb saves and generally commanded his area effectively
Cedric: 7. Defensively disciplined. Provided a superb cross for Austin, in a rare Southampton break
Fonte: 7. Looked a bit clunky in possession early on, but read the game well and made one particularly brilliant challenge on Coutinho
van Dijk: 8. Put in some superb defensive work once again, with the last ditch tackle on Mane on particular highlight
Bertrand: 7. Wasn't able to push forward as much as he would have liked, but solid at the back
Romeu: 7. Passing a bit hit and miss, provided an excellent shield for the defence and expended so much energy
Hojbjerg: 7. Nearly gifted Liverpool a goal with one moment of madness, but otherwise very impressive. Moved the ball about well, and stuck to his job defensively
Davis: 6. Not really able to show his quality on the ball, but battled away until the end
Redmond: 5. Some good pressing, but decision making on the ball generally a let-down. Seemed slightly out of sync with the rest of his teammates
Austin: 5. Got himself into some good positions, but didn't have the wherewithal to make the most of them
Boufal: 6. Showed a few flashes of brilliance, although not where it really counted. Pressed well
Long: 6. Combative style of play was useful in helping Saints defend from the front
Rodriguez: 6. Looked quite sharp and gave Saints another outlet late in the game
Reed: Showed confidence on the ball during the brief time he was on
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Saints line-up: Forster, Cedric, Fonte, van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Hojbjerg (Reed 78), Davis, Redmond, Austin (Rodriguez 75), Boufal (Long 66)
Subs not used: Taylor, Martina, Yoshida, Clasie,
Liverpool line-up: Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Can (Sturridge 78), Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Firmino, Mane (Origi 90)
Subs not used: Mignolet, Moreno, Lucas, Klavan, Grujic