Liverpool slumped to a second loss of its title defense in the English Premier League after a second-minute goal from former player Danny Ings earned Southampton a 1-0 win on Monday.
The champion has gone three games without a win _ after back-to-back draws against West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle _ and leads on only goal difference from Manchester United, which has played one game fewer.
Ings, who had an injury-plagued spell at Liverpool from 2015-18, lifted a shot over goalkeeper Alisson Becker and into the far corner after latching onto a free kick by James Ward-Prowse.
From then, it was attack vs. defense but Southampton held firm, meaning Liverpool failed to score in successive games for only the second time in Jurgen Klopp's five-year tenure.
Indeed, such has been Liverpool's lack of cutting edge of late that Klopp's team has managed just seven shots on target in the past three games.
Southampton was depleted for the game, missing the spine of its team with first-choice goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (coronavirus), central midfielder Oriol Romeu (hamstring) and striker Che Adams (concussion) joining giant center back Jannik Vestergaard on the sidelines.
But the Saints picked up another impressive win and moved up to sixth place.
Four points separate Liverpool from seventh-place Everton, with 10th-placed West Ham seven points off the lead after nearly half of the campaign.
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