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Jurgen Klopp felt that Liverpool’s defeat at Southampton was due to an early mistake by Trent Alexander-Arnold and his team’s lack of penalty.
A goal from former Reds forward Danny Ings in the second minute was enough to secure the Saints’ 1-0 win at St Mary’s Stadium on Monday.
James Ward-Prowse hit a free kick into the penalty area and, after Alexander-Arnold failed to intercept, Ings smartly finished off goalkeeper Alisson.
Liverpool pushed hard in the second half but only hit the target with one of their 17 shots, while penalty appeals faded when Sadio Mane tangled with Kyle Walker-Peters and when Georginio Wijnaldum’s shot hit the arm. by Jack Stephens.
Those incidents upset Klopp, even though he accepted that his poor start gave the champions a difficult task.
“It made life enormously difficult,” he told Sky Sports.
“The idea was nice, but we have a player who is capable of hitting the ball and misses it. All of these things can happen to humans, but as good as the game is, we knew they would, we had a player there and we missed the ball and then of course next is the end.
“The possession we had, the way we played, Fraser Forster should have had a lot more to do, but that’s the situation we got into. We had a very long period in the second half where Southampton had nothing to do with the game, there were no counterattacks, so that’s good.
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“But the best situations we had were when Sadio has the ball and then … if someone says again that Sadio Mane is a jumper, it’s the biggest joke in the world. This boy tries to stand up.
“Other teams will receive a penalty for that, let me put it that way. Then handball, I don’t know who will explain it to me.
“That doesn’t improve our performance and it doesn’t take anything away from Southampton, but in these situations we were unfortunate, at least.”
The result ended Southampton’s six-game league losing streak against Liverpool and marked the first time Ralph Hasenhuttl has taken points from Klopp in a league game.
The Saints boss, who was clearly excited full time, said: “So far I’ve never won a point from Jurgen, so I think I started to believe we could do it in the 92nd minute and not before.
“The way we defended was incredible. The effort that the guys put in, all of them, was key to winning. The mentality was maybe even better than this team of mentality monsters.
“It was an important step forward, I think.”
Liverpool have won just two points in their last three games and will be replaced by Manchester United at the top of the table if the Red Devils win their game at hand.
“It’s a pretty rusty moment and we have to admit it,” Klopp said. “Only if you know the problem can you solve it, and we are not blind to our problems.
“We just have to fight this and play through this. That is with suitable opponents around, they want to have points, I have to say that Southampton’s attitude was exceptional. That’s why we lost tonight and we didn’t get the results in the last few weeks that we wanted. “