LONDON (Reuters) – Juergen Klopp’s first home Premier League match as Liverpool manager ended in a third successive draw as Southampton’s Sadio Mane equalised substitute Christian Benteke’s goal with five minutes left at Anfield.
Missing injured striker Daniel Sturridge, Klopp turned to expensive signing Benteke at halftime, and the Belgium international responded with a superb header in the 77th minute from James Milner’s cross.
But with the home crowd preparing to celebrate Klopp’s first victory since succeeding Brendan Rodgers who was sacked earlier this month, Mane bundled in an equaliser at the far post.
The Senegal international marred his day when he was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession late on but his team held on to stay one place ahead of Liverpool in eighth position.
“We knew it would be hard work only three days after our last game,” said Klopp, whose first Anfield game was the 1-1 draw with Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday that followed a goalless draw at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
“We had our moments and played very good in many situations but in the end you have to score,” he told Sky Sports.
He also criticised his players for a lack of confidence after Southampton’s equaliser.
“There was no belief in their eyes any more after that,” he said.
“We deserved at least one point,” Southampton’s manager Ronald Koeman told the BBC.
“It was not our best performance but we had a good reaction after going down to a great goal from Christian Benteke.
“Our defensive organisation is good, it is difficult to create chances against us.
“Teams like Liverpool, if they have a change in management, there is always a change in expectation. I know that, I have played for big teams and I know the expectation on the manager of Liverpool is always bigger than that of Southampton.
(Reporting by Steve Tongue; editing by Martyn Herman)