Monday, 8 May 2017

Milner Pen Miss Costs Reds Two Points

Sports - Football - Premier League - LFC 0:0 SFC

James Milner's first penalty miss in a Liverpool shirt dealt his club a big blow in their race to stay in the top four by dropping more points after a goalless draw against Southampton.

Anfield was tense and silent, frustrated and disappointed once again, in a game that did not have much else to show for or report about, too much like their last home disappointment against Palace a couple of weeks ago.

The Reds looked tired and slow and rarely tested Saints keeper Fraser Forster, whilst the visitors didn't even record an attempt at all in the first half, nothing on target in the whole match, keeping the back line long and strong.

Over an hour had passed when Emre Can's passionate appeal for a penalty against Jack Stephens handling the ball ended up in celebrations as the referee pointed to the spot.

But the celebrations didn't last long. Milner, waiting in Forster's shadow to place the ball on the spot, seemed to have been cracked by the England keeper's mind games, seeing his spot-kick saved and gloved away to the stopper's right.

The Reds' deputy skipper looked devastated after his first penalty miss since November 2009, whilst Forster was celebrated for his first penalty save in the Premier League (Milner's being the ninth one faced).

The only other chance of note for the Reds came in stoppage time, man of the match Forster keeping out substitute Marko Grujic's header from close range.

It was just not to be. Simon Mignolet on the other hand, had one lucky escape late on, gloving the ball away on the edge of the box, replays showing the LFC keeper was over the line outside his area.

Reds boss Jürgen Klopp was his usual mental self, shouting, grimacing and arguing with the officials throughout.

Saints manager Claude Puel is unbeaten against his German counterpart, having played Liverpool four times this season, conceding not a single goal.

It's the first time since 2008-09 that Liverpool have recorded a goalless draw home and away against the same opponent in the Premier League.

Klopp has never beaten Southampton in the Premier League (D3, L1), having faced them more than any other opponent without winning.

The draw sees Saints drop to 10th with a couple of games in hand, whilst Liverpool stay third, keeping control of their Champions League faith after seeing Arsenal beat Manchester United the same afternoon.

But the Reds can only keep control if they take control, which has not been the case at home lately, none of the famous pressing and gegenpressing, just slow kick-about and blank stares after yet another miss/mess-up!

On a more positive note, Liverpool are already 10 points better off than the end of last season, with two games still left to play!

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 33 Matip, 6 Lovren (booked), 7 Milner, 23 Can, 21 Lucas (20 Lallana 69'), 5 Wijnaldum (16 Grujic 87'), 11 Firmino, 27 Origi (15 Sturridge 69'), 10 Coutinho. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 17 Klavan, 18 Moreno, 66 Alexander-Arnold.

Southampton Team: 1 Forster, 2 Soares (booked), 24 Stephens, 3 Yoshida, 21 Bertrand (booked), 11 Tadic, 8 Davis, 14 Romeu, 16 Ward-Prowse (booked), 19 Boufal (22 Redmond 60'), 20 Gabbiadini (7 Long 69'). 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 9 Rodriguez, 12 Cáceres, 23 Højbjerg, 26 Pied, 40 Hassen.

1st & 2nd half stats: LFC-SFC
Score: 0-0 & 0-0
Possession: 66%-34% & 65%-35%
Shots: 5-0 & 17-4
On target: 3-0 & 8-0
Corners: 1-1 & 3-6
Fouls: 4-2 & 9-4
Bookings: 0-0 & 1-3

Referee: Robert Madley
Man of the match: Fraser Forster
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 53,159

Click here to read my last LFC match report.

All pictures and stats taken from the BBC match report.

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