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The BBC's Alan Green
"What a time to play as badly as this"
 real 28k

Sunday, 7 May, 2000, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Reds draw another blank

Carragher and Pahars in an aerial battle
Liverpool 0-0 Southampton

Liverpool's failure to score handed the Champions League initiative to Leeds as the two clubs chase a passport into the lucrative European competition.

Saints defended superbly against a lacklustre Reds side which has not scored in four matches.

This point takes them above Leeds on goal difference into third place but leaves Liverpool needing a favour from neighbours Everton.

The Yorkshire side have a game in hand at Goodison Park on Monday night before next Sunday's final games.

Owen out

Despite their goal drought Liverpool started without Michael Owen - and the young England striker was not even on the bench as Robbie Fowler partnered Emile Heskey.

Titi Camara also came into an ultra-attacking formation with David Thompson left out and Dietmar Hamann dropped to the bench.

Carragher denies Oakley possession

But none of the Liverpool forwards could force their way through the Southampton defence in a lacklustre first half display from Liverpool.

Indeed it was Saints who had the better chances as Liverpool struggled to convert their guaranteed Uefa Cup place into a Champions League spot.

Jo Tessem had a close ranger header well saved by Sander Westerveld after Hassan Kachloul launched a fine cross into the box from the left.

The Dutch keeper tipped the ball over the bar before repeating the trick with a fierce volley from Kachloul.

Liverpool's formation, with Camara and Heskey wide, took time to settle against Southampton's five-man midfield, and the home side's efforts were mainly from long range.

Redknapp and Soltvedt in a midfield tussle

Patrik Berger cracked a 20-yarder over and forced a save from Neil Moss from similar range.

Camara also fired three efforts off target from more than 25 yards, and just before the break Sami Hyypia flicked a header inches wide.

The pattern did not significantly change after the break, and Southampton enjoyed an even better chance in the early stages of the second half.

Again Liverpool were restricted to long range with Jamie Carragher having a 30-yard drive saved by Moss after 55 minutes.

But back came the visitors with Kevin Davies producing a testing right wing cross which Rigobert Song had to head clear over the bar.

Gerard Houllier realised action was required, but when he did so after the hour it was not a popular move with the Kop.

Fowler was the man to make way as Thompson came on, with Heskey going into a central position.

All African battle: Song and Kachloul

But little appeared to change as the next two chances were both hopeful long range efforts from Berger, both going wide.

Camara added to his own tally of hopeful shots for the afternoon with three more.

But the first two went wide and the second was well gathered by Moss as were two high balls from a Jamie Redknapp corner.

The dropped Hamann entered the fray with a quarter of an hour remaining in place of Song.

Erik Meijer came on for Camara shortly after the African had wasted a well-worked opening from Thompson and Redknapp.

The big Dutchman crossed to set up a good headed chance for Thompson soon afterwards, but the little midfielder headed straight at Moss from six yards.

Stephane Henchoz then brushed the top of the bar with a powerful header after a free kick from the Liverpool left had been cleared to the edge of the box.

And finally, Heskey blasted over from just inside the box to leave Liverpool favourites for the lesser of the two European competitions next season.

Teams:

Liverpool: Westerveld, Matteo, Henchoz, Hyypia, Song, Berger, Redknapp, Carragher, Camara, Heskey, Fowler. Subs: Hamann, Meijer, Friedel, Murphy, Thompson.

Southampton: Monk, Bridge, Richards, El Khalej, Dodd, Kachloul, Soltvedt, Tessem, Oakley, Davies, Pahars. Subs: Marsden, Lundekvam, Benali, Rodrigues, Bevan.

Referee: P Alcock (Halstead)

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See also:

03 May 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Reds face European ignominy
03 May 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Leeds edge towards Europe
29 Apr 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Izzett wins it on the rebound
29 Apr 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Arsenal's roll continues
06 May 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Henry crushes Blues' European dream
07 May 00 | Football
City ride luck on return
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.