Liverpool went in to the second tie at Anfield looking to overturn a one goal deficit from the first leg of this EFL Cup semi final second leg.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp welcomed back Philippe Couthino and Joël Matip. With Daniel Sturridge named up front, Adam Lallana dropped back to his favoured midfield role, it all looked hopeful that Liverpool could claw back this one goal lead.
Unfortunately during a game we again dominated in terms of possession we were really only able to bother Fraser Forster, the only real chance in the game fell to Emre Can who struck a pile driver from 25 yards in the second half.
Forester fumbled it on the first attempt and as the ball rolled behind him edging closer to the line he was able to recover and scoop it off the line and away.
That was the main chance we were able to produce in a game that seen Southampton defend well yet again.
Forcing Liverpool to go out wide and swing in cross after cross all night long, sometimes from silly positions to no avail.
Where we wanted to hurt them (down the middle) they again packed it out making the intricate play slow and usually ending in losing the ball.
Our final pass was lacking this whole game and although Couthino was notably quicker on his feet and with his vision it still wasn’t enough.
Southampton didn’t just sit back and settle in. They grew into the game and were able to hit us on the break with the the type of counter attacks we can only dream of.
Twice Nathan Redmond was slipped in behind Alexander-Arnold and was able to square the ball to firstly Tadic and then later Davis from the exact same position.
Both players should have scored with Loris Karius again coming out quickly to keep Liverpool in this tie just as he did in the first leg.
Emre Can strolled about the pitch during the first half without a forward seeking ball in his head and looked more like the much maligned Lucas Leiva from a few years ago in his sideways passes.
The second half seen Liverpool push right up onto the Southampton defence for virtually the whole half again looking for the breakthrough which was never to come.
Several corners and set pieces failed to even produce a headed chance for us and it was from one of these corners on 90 minutes that they broke on us again this time with Shane Long free on the far side of the box to receive the quick pass and shoot low across Karius to kill the tie for once and all.
Nothing more than Southampton deserved over the two ties and the fact that the goal came 60 seconds after Origi seemed to be tripped in the box without the penalty being awarded didn’t cover the fact Liverpool were second best throughout this two legged tie.
Nathan Redmond was the chief tormentor over both legs and when I seen him being taken off on 80 minutes I thought to myself at least he’s gone.
We again looked like a shadow of the team that has terrified the league attacking wise in the first half of the season with no penetration at all up front and a midfield that has lost its energy and guile also.
Emre Can has been unbelievably poor in recent weeks but he did have a better second half, was alot more positive going forward and quicker in his play. But why does he have to be scolded at half time before he produces such an upturn in his performance?
Winjaldum for me was a big miss tonight as he has alot more energy off the ball and always seems to link up better with the players around him.
Daniel Sturridge was very unlucky twice tonight with two close in volleys that both dropped to him quickly but which he was unable to keep down to score.
The first being th e best chance when on 58 mins the balled dropped to him after as corner and he tried to swivel and volley from 3 yards out but swung it high over the bar.
In the space of just over a month our season has definitely taken a downward turn. From second in the league looking forward to Chelsea having to come to Anfield also and into the semi final of the league cup it gone wrong in a big fashion.
Whether it’s due to injuries, players missing and too many games everyone will have their own opinions.
Myself I believe that yet again there is far too much talk and hype within the squad as to how the season was going and what lay ahead.
That coupled with some below par performances and tinkering with the formations at times has blown our chances off the table of silverware this season. Yet again.
Sure we turn up against the big teams and alway seem to do well against them so far under Jurgen Klopp. And we’ve all seen the mini league of the top 6 this season and how well we’ve done in it.
But there’s no cups handed out for that mini league.
Jürgen Klopp will come under more pressure now I’m sure for not bringing in that commanding central defender alot of fans crave but saying that he would not have stopped that goal tonight either I believe.
On the day that the club chose to announce a new deal for Couthino it seems all the rose tinted glasses from that news was masking a bigger problem.
One which I’m sure Klopp will get right when he addresses what he sees as the problems but to be taken back down to earth in such a fashion over the last month is also hard to take even though we are probably ahead of schedule as far as progress into the much coveted champions league looks right now.
Written by @StephenKing75