In preparing for yesterday’s match, Southampton received an early boost when it was confirmed that former Saints standout and current linchpin of this Liverpool side Adam Lallana would not be available for this meeting, but the hosts still had to do very well to hold off the rest of Jürgen Klopp’s free-scoring crew. No surprise then that Danish international Pierre-Emile Højbjerg - a key element of Southampton’s stout collective effort - was reasonably content with the point gained at home.
In his post-match assessment of the proceedings, Højbjerg, who has played against some heavy hitters during his time with Bayern Munich and through his loan spells at Augsburg and Schalke, had a few nice things to say about his opponents. Some very nice things indeed.
“I played in Germany against Bayern Munich and Dortmund,” said Højbjerg to southamptonfc.com, “I played against Manchester City in the Champions League, but I must say this is maybe the best team I have ever played against.
“It's not only that they move the ball quickly. They also have fast players, and with the ball they are very good one against one.”
“As always, the best is to win,” added Højbjerg, “but against a fantastic team like Liverpool you have to realize that a point is a fantastic result.”
Though they eventually dominated overall possession, Liverpool labored through a stop-start first half before finding a more consistent rhythm in the second half. Despite Højbjerg’s not-exactly-faint praise, most supporters would have realized that Klopp’s starters were not quite operating at their usual crispness at the outset, no doubt partly due to Lallana’s absence.
Next up for Liverpool are Sunderland, led (for now) by old friend David Moyes and coming off a comprehensive 3-0 win over Hull City that temporarily alleviated the gloom over the Stadium of Light.