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Liverpool lost a chance to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League table after suffering a 1-0 defeat at Southampton on Monday night.
Former Reds forward Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game in the second minute and despite the visitors’ great possession, they only formed one shot on goal in a dismal display.
Liverpool showed three changes for the match at St Mary’s, with Thiago Alcantara in his first start since the Merseyside derby in October.
Curtis Jones, James Milner and Nathaniel Phillips were left out of the starting lineup, with Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain entering and Jordan Henderson starting at center.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl also made three changes from his team’s draw with West Ham.
Goalkeeper Fraser Forster replaced Alex McCarthy, who tested positive for coronavirus, while Oriol Romeu and Che Adams were replaced in the starting lineup by Stuart Armstrong and Ibrahima Diallo.
Two minutes later, and with their first chance of the game, Southampton went ahead thanks to Ings.
The forward benefited after catching Trent Alexander-Arnold from a clever free kick by James Ward-Prowse, taking a bunt before launching the ball over goalkeeper Alisson Becker and into the far corner of the Reds’ net.
Liverpool enjoyed most of the possession after going back but failed to convert it on clear chances and often resorted to long balls from the defense in an attempt to find Mohamed Salah.
In fact, the Saints could have gone 2-0 at halftime when substitute Nathan Tella saw an excellent curling effort narrowly deflected.
More intensity but no ideas from Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp’s men came out with much more intensity to start the second period, racking up numbers in search of a draw.
Klopp made a switch 10 minutes into the second half, and Oxlade-Chamberlain was replaced by the more aggressive Xherdan Shaqiri.
But despite their dominance, the visitors were struggling to upset Fraser Forster on the home goal.
Liverpool finally created an opening with 20 minutes to go when Roberto Firmino looked at a deflected header from a Shaqiri cross.
Forster was forced to make his first significant save in the 75th minute when the Reds finally fired on target, but it was a weak effort from Sadio Mane.
The home team came close to closing the points at the end when Alisson shot out of his goal, but was hit by Yan Valery, whose goal effort was cleared by Henderson and then Fabinho.
Mane threw a header over the bar in injury time, but the truth is Liverpool never seemed to score all night in what was a really poor display from Klopp’s men.