Not one of his best nights.
The Premier League title race took an interesting turn on the south coast of England on Monday night.
Liverpool, hoping to pull three points clear of Manchester United ahead of a break for the FA Cup this weekend, lost for only the second time this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton at St Mary’s, with Danny Ings’ exquisite second-minute lob proving decisive, hands control of the race back to United.
Should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side win their game in hand away to Burnley on January 12, they will move three points clear of the champions before a top-two showdown at Anfield five days later.
For Liverpool, their trip to St Mary’s proved immensely frustrating. Sadio Mane had a penalty appeal waved away after going down under the challenge of Kyle Walker-Peters, while the former Saints forward headed over the bar when presented with a chance (albeit a difficult one) to level the score in the final minute of injury time.
It means Liverpool have picked up only two points from their last three games during what has been a sticky festive period for Klopp and co.
Of course, Mane wasn’t the only player that failed to fire. Mohamed Salah failed to register a single shot on target, Thiago Alcantara was unable to open up the Saints rearguard while Trent Alexander-Arnold was uncharacteristically wayward with his passing.
Unwanted record for Alexander-Arnold
The marauding right-back, who was at fault for Southampton’s goal after allowing James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick to brush past him and into Ings’ path, gave away possession 38 times during his 77 minutes on the pitch – more than any other player in a match this season.
Granted, the England international’s penchant for expansive, enterprising passing means he is destined to miss his intended target on a few occasions, he certainly looked out of sorts up against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s well-drilled Saints.
75 – Liverpool’s first shot on target in this match came in the 75th minute, courtesy of Sadio Mané. It’s their longest wait for an attempt on target in a Premier League match since December 2015 (89th minute vs Newcastle). Stifled. #SOULIV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 4, 2021
As per Opta, Alexander-Arnold managed three accurate crosses out of nine attempts while only seven of his 18 long balls found a teammate.
Defensively, the 22-year-old was suspect too, winning only one of his eight duels. He was hooked by Klopp after 77 minutes for James Milner, cutting a disconsolate figure as he trudged off the pitch.
Liverpool must now regroup for Friday night’s FA Cup trip to Aston Villa, where they lost 7-2 earlier this season. That should be interesting.