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Saint Ryan Bertrand helps frustrate Liverpool

DEFENDER OF THE FAITH: Southampton's Ryan Bertrand

SOUTHAMPTON LITERALLY made their point at Anfield on Sunday with a 0-0 scoreline against Champions League-chasing Liverpool. Key to the Saints’ deserved draw was left-back Ryan Bertrand.

The gifted defende has been linked to a possible move to both Liverpool and and a return to former employers Chelsea. He has been solid for the South Coast club for most of the season so there is no surprise that he is being pursued.

He signed for the London club in 2006 but he was loaned out to Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich, Reading and Derby County, only returning to Chelsea in 2011 for three seasons before joining Southampton in July 2014.
The match at Anfield was his 25th Premier League appearance of the season, and he would have his work cut out with Liverpool in fine form.

Liverpool were on the hunt for a Champions League berth while Southampton will be wanted to get back to winning ways after two losses and a draw, and they would need to be on top form if they were to get a result in Merseyside.
Both sides looked lively in the first couple of minutes with Bertrand prominent down his team’s left.

The game never really got started after that, with neither side creating any clear chances and was probably one of the most uninspiring games of the season.

To the away team’s credit they were keeping to their game plan of containing Liverpool and frustrating their usually potent attack.

The deadlock was nearly broken on 15 minutes when Southampton midfielder Oriel Romeu slipped just outside his own penalty area to leave the Reds’ Roberto Firmino through on the defence. The Saints’ were grateful that alert defender Maya Yoshida did a great job of blocking the shot from 20 yards.

It was looking like Southampton had come for a point, with only a Philippe Coutinho shot from long range - which went straight to ‘keeper Fraser Forster’s hands – the home team’s best effort.

This game never really got going in the first half. The game needed some flair, however the reality was the opening period only had couple of tame long range shots as highlights.

The second half started off pretty much the same as the first, with the Southampton defence looking solid against a lacklustre Liverpool side that were churning out long range shots.

Central defender Jack Stephens was proving to be a decent foil for Yoshida; the pair like their team mates were all organised and brave.

On 64 minutes Liverpool were awarded a penalty when the ball hit the arm of Stephens. Midfielder James Milner, who has a great record for scoring from the penalty spot, hit the ball hard and low but Forster pulled off a great save with a strong right hand.

Midway through the second half Liverpool brought on former Saint Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturbridge. The latter was looking to prove a point to the Liverpool manager after falling down the pecking order, and he came close from just outside the Southampton box with a driving shot that just went wide of the post.

Bertrand came alive in the last five minutes, nearly scoring his third goal of the season when he fired in a shot from 20 yards out, which was blocked by Emre Can.

Liverpool almost snatched a win in injury time, when Milner fired in a cross that was met with a thunderous header by Marco Grujic, however, his effort was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by the agile Forster.

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