'Rusty' Liverpool Suffer Shock Loss At Southampton
Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool are suffering a "rusty moment" after a 1-0 defeat at Southampton extended the defending champions' winless run in the Premier League to three games.
Danny Ings's stunning second-minute goal earned three points which moved Southampton into sixth and led to Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl breaking into tears of joy on the final whistle.
Liverpool remain top of the table on goal difference over Manchester United, but have now played a game more than the Red Devils, who they face in their next league game at Anfield on 17 January.
"That's a rusty moment we have to admit it," said Klopp, whose side last failed to win in three straight Premier League games back in May 2018.
"Only if you know the problem can you solve the problem, we are not blind. We have to fight and play through this."
A first league defeat in three months may hasten Liverpool's search for a centre-back in the January transfer window.
Without the injured Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, Klopp started two of his first-choice midfielders from their title-winning campaign, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, together at the heart of his defence.
Southampton had not scored in their last three games to temper their hopes of a push for European football, but took just two minutes to break the deadlock in style through former Liverpool striker Ings.
Trent Alexander-Arnold did not deal with James Ward-Prowse's angled free-kick into the box and Ings perfectly hooked his shot over Alisson Becker into the far corner.
"It's not only the slow start, but the slow start made life massively difficult tonight," added Klopp.
Southampton had key absentees themselves with goalkeeper Alex McCarthy missing due to a positive test for coronavirus, while Oriol Romeu, Jannik Vestergaard and Che Adams were out injured.
Fraser Forster was making his first Saints appearance since May 2019, but the former England international was rarely tested to earn his clean sheet. (AFP)