That was not in the script.
Two draws against West Brom and Newcastle would not have been tolerated by Jurgen Klopp, given the astronomically high standards he demands from his side, and Southampton were in their firing line on Monday night as an angry beast was looking for blood. But this was no beast. Barely even a mouse.
The early goal conceded by Liverpool at St Mary's can be somewhat attributed to the fact that Liverpool did not have a recognised centre-back on the pitch, as Danny Ings, a man Liverpool could do with, hooked a superb finish into the net
Premier League
Alexander-Arnold ruled out of Man City match by Klopp
30/09/2021 AT 20:15

'Is it my fault?' - Klopp questions why Man Utd get more penalties than Liverpool

There are no excuses for what happened in the following 88 minutes, however. Yes, players are tired at the moment with the schedule even more relentless than normal given the Premier League are still playing catch up from the first coronavirus lockdown, so Liverpool cannot be expected to dazzle as they did last season.
To offer nothing, though, and literally nothing, is down to the team, the great Jurgen Klopp included, simply running out of ideas and, even more alarmingly, anything close to champion-like intensity.
Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster was playing his first match, in the absence of Alex McCarthy, at St Mary's since December 2017, and he will not have slept too well on Sunday night, thinking about what could be coming his way the following day.
Yet Liverpool would not even shoot. It took them 75 minutes to have a shot on target, and Forster's grandmother could have saved it. When a goalkeeper is that out of practise, you have to test him at every given opportunity.
The names that are under-performing, en masse, is concerning. Thiago Alcantara endured a nightmare return to the Liverpool side, Trent Alexander-Arnold - one of the stars of the show last season - gave the ball away an astonishing 38 times, more than any other player in a single Premier League match this season, while Alisson is hardly inspiring confidence with some bizarre decision making. Then you get onto their strike triumvirate.
Other than a purple patch of three goals in two games a few weeks ago, Roberto Firmino has only two other league goals this season. Scoring bucket loads of goals is not his forte will be the cry from his supporters, and it is true he contributes so much more to the Liverpool attack. But still, as a frontline forward in the Liverpool side, you at least have to contribute to the goal tally a little.
Firmino's creative juices were not flowing at St Mary's either, with the Brazilian's performance anything but an outlier. In his last four games, Firmino has not scored, and created just three chances for team-mates.
All appeared to be well with Mohamed Salah in the aftermath of his interview with AS in Spain where he revealed his "admiration" for Real Madrid and Barcelona, as he came off the bench and scored twice in a 7-0 Liverpool win at Crystal Palace the day after the article was published.

'Our fault, my responsibility' admits Klopp after Liverpool lose to Southampton

However, coming on when your team is 5-0 up, and digging in when your team are up against it, under-performing in games you are expected to win, are two very different things. And in the last three games, Salah has been ineffective in the extreme - perhaps his head has been turned after all. Salah has never quite been as appreciated at Liverpool as maybe he should have been, so looking elsewhere should not come as a total surprise.
Sadio Mane was the only one who really offered any kind of threat at St Mary's, but for all his boundless ability, he cannot do it by himself, and with no options in the middle, he found himself marooned down many a blind alley on the south coast.
Of course, Liverpool are more than capable of getting over this minor blip. Klopp remains one of the best coaches, if not the best, in the world. But too many players are just looking, well, listless.
You can forgive a dip in performance, as long as there is some form of endeavour. As long as chances are being created. Liverpool unlocked defences with consummate ease last season. Unthinkably, their ideas may well have ran out far too early in Klopp's quest to build a dynasty on Merseyside.
Premier League
'The situation has changed' - Tuchel backs Chilwell after 'mentally tiring' summer
14/09/2021 AT 09:40
Premier League
United confirm Ronaldo deal
27/08/2021 AT 16:01