Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl rued his sides missed chances as Liverpool walked out 2-0 winners in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday night.
Sadio Mane and Thiago scored either side of the break in a contest full of suspense with Liverpool chasing Champions League football and Southampton looking to end the campaign on a better note.
The former Saints man rose to meet Mohamed Salah’s pinpoint cross to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead on 31 minutes, just seconds after Alisson denied Che Adams at the other end.
“We had chances, but we didn’t score,” said Hasenhuttl. “The opponent also had chances and they scored twice, so simply put it’s football sometimes and for all the rest we did well, but we don’t get anything for it and that’s a pity.”
After finding themselves atop the table in November, Saints have crashed back down to earth and sit somewhat comfortably outside the relegation zone in 16th position, 10 points clear of Fulham with four matches to go.
Saints pushed for an improbable 1-1 draw against Leicester a week ago Friday where they played the final 80 minutes with 10-men. Jannik Vestergaard would later have his red card rescinded upon review.
But Southampton was unable to build on that slight momentum with Liverpool the more clinical of the two in front of goal.
Fraser Forster, who drew into the line-up in goal, was busy on the night and made saves against Diogo Jota and Salah to give Saints a chance to make a breakthrough at the other end.
Nathan Tella set up Adams for a great opportunity, but Alisson was quick to equal the shot with a smart save.
Liverpool instead took the lead, before Saints again failed to convert before halftime when Tella headed straight at Alisson.
Mane looked to have doubled his tally only for the goal to be disallowed, but Thiago made it 2-0 on the stroke of full-time when his shot found the bottom corner.
“We had to brave here (Anfield). We tried to be it and I think we have been and it was the only way to be competitive here,” said Hasenhuttl. “It caused them some issues and I think we tried it in a good way and that’s the reason why we had so many chances.
“But it’s not enough to have the chances, you must also be clinical enough to score in that moment and we haven’t been today and that’s the reason why we are disappointed.”
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, Williams, Phillips, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Thiago; Mane (Jones 90+3), Salah (Oxlade-Chamberlain 87), Diogo Jota (Firmino 79)
Unused subs: Adrian (GK), Shaqiri, Tsimikas, Woodburn, Williams, Koumetio
Goals: Mane (31), Diogo Jota (90)
Southampton (4-4-2): Forster; Stephens, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Redmond, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Walcott (Diallo 66); Tella (Obafemi 66), Adams (Djenepo 79)
Unused subs: McCarthy (GK), N’Lundulu, Ferry, Ramsay, Salisu, Jankewitz
Bookings: Redmond (61)