LONDON • Liverpool continued to enjoy the view from the top of the English Premier League on Saturday, but everything would have looked so much better for Jurgen Klopp and his players if they had shown the same ruthless touch in front of goal that had carried them to the summit.
Instead, Liverpool departed the St Mary's Stadium ruing the missed opportunities that checked their momentum and allowed Southampton to escape with a point after a 0-0 draw.
Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all found themselves in promising positions, but the combination of some excellent goalkeeping from Fraser Forster and wayward finishing prevented the visitors from capitalising on their dominance.
Klopp's desperation for the goal that would have extended their lead at the top of the table also shone through in the substitution that brought Daniel Sturridge on to replace Emre Can and that so nearly produced a reward.
Nine minutes from time, Sturridge wriggled clear on the left with a neat piece of footwork and floated a deep and inviting centre towards the back post.
It was a former Southampton player on the end of the cross. But Nathaniel Clyne, from about 10 metres out, headed centimetres wide of Forster's far upright.
"It was a brilliant situation. Unfortunately for Clyney, he was the most surprised person maybe in the stadium," Klopp said.
The manager, though, praised his team's performance.
"I'm fine with the performance, absolutely," the German said.
"Two things are important in football - the result and the performance. The result was not perfect but the performance was better than we could have expected."
Southampton played defensively, with manager Claude Puel's explanation for keeping 10 men behind the ball for most of the match a compliment to Liverpool.
"It is not our tactic, it is just that we played a very good team," said Puel. "It is a good point and it is deserved for my players because of their attitude and their quality."
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE