07 May 2017

Liverpool 0-0 Southampton

Liverpool have played six hours of football against Southampton this season and failed to score.

Liverpool outshot Southampton 32 to 7 in the two league meetings this season. Both finished 0-0.

Southampton failed to put a single shot on target in either of those 0-0s this season. Liverpool had 10 of them.

Liverpool had three clear-cut chances in those two 0-0s. Clyne and Firmino missed the target at Southampton in November, and Milner had a penalty saved today.

Milner's saved penalty was the first time he'd failed to score a Premier League penalty since November 2009. It was the first time Fraser Forster's ever saved a Premier League penalty.

That penalty was Liverpool's only notable chance despite 66% possession – and it came from absolutely nothing, an unlucky handball on a basically aimless hoof forward – until Lallana and Sturridge came on. In the 69th minute. Because Liverpool thought it'd be a good idea to start the same front six which has struggled so mightily in attack in the last three matches. Which has scored just three goals – a quasi-fortunate set play header, a wonderful free kick, and a bicycle kick that Emre Can will never, ever replicate.

Liverpool had just eight shots in those first 69 minutes and nine shots in the 21 minutes after.

Once again, Liverpool have been frustrated by a side who wanted nothing more than to stifle and smother in the defensive third. Once again, Liverpool have failed to break down a side who wanted nothing more than to stifle and smother in the defensive third. Once again, Liverpool have dropped indescribably vital points against a side who wanted nothing more than to stifle and smother in the defensive third.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

At least Liverpool didn't lose, I guess.

You can blame Milner for his first poor penalty at the eighth time of asking this season, or Milner and Clyne for not creating anywhere near enough, and not for the first time. You can blame Divock Origi for being wholly unsuited to leading the line in matches like these. You can blame Lucas for not being creative enough in matches like these, you can blame Wijnaldum for being even more invisible than he usually is away from Anfield. You can even blame Fraser Forster if you like, somehow once again turning into a wonder keeper when playing Liverpool, in complete contrast to almost every other match, not only stopping Milner's penalty but denying Sturridge's clever toe-poke in the 78th, Grujic's late late header, and five other more speculative efforts.

You should probably blame Jürgen Klopp for starting this XI once again, specifically that front six in those roles, despite seeing how it has performed and knowing how Southampton would play, and for waiting for more than two-thirds of the match to make the necessary and obvious changes. Yes, yes, Lallana is coming off an extended injury and needed to play for longer than expected six days ago. Yes, yes, Sturridge is Sturridge. This still seems the most unforgivable part of a fairly unforgivable match.

Six days after a confidence-boosting result at Watford, a top four place is back out of Liverpool's hands. Winning the last two games might not be enough. And Liverpool's next game is away against a side they haven't beaten in the last five meetings. A side coming off a massive victory against their closest rivals, where they stopped those closest rivals – a much more potent side than this incarnation of Liverpool – from scoring.

Liverpool are almost out of chances. And Liverpool are out of excuses.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Liverpool can get 76 points, after the result today United can only get 74 and Arsenal 75 if they win out.