The reigning Premier League champions slipped up once again on Monday night at St Mary’s, suffering a 1-0 defeat to a solitary Danny Ings goal inside the first two minutes, and they have now failed to win their last three matches.
Liverpool’s poor run of results has opened the door for the chasing pack, with United only needing a point from their game in hand against Burnley next week to claim top spot and leapfrog their rivals.
The Merseysiders struggled to create chances against Southampton, though Klopp felt Sadio Mane was twice fouled inside the box and claims other clubs would have been given the decision, name-checking rivals United in the process.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Klopp said: ‘The best situations were pretty much when Sadio had the ball and then… if anyone will ever say about Sadio Mane again that he is a diver then it is the biggest joke in the world.
‘This boy tries to stay on his feet obviously with all his effort but I think there were two situations where other teams would get a penalty for it, let me say it like this. And then the handball, I don’t know who would explain that to me.
‘So that doesn’t make our performance any better, and should not take anything away from Southampton, but in these situations we were… unfortunate, at least.’
‘I turned around to the fourth official and asked if it would be checked, he said: “We’ve checked it already, no penalty”. That’s 100% the truth, and now somebody wants to tell me how quick they had it in all these different angles, but that’s 100%: “We checked it already, no pen”.
‘There were moments in the last year, I think a penalty against Leicester, and people were like, “Sadio Mane is going down easy”. If this boy went down easy we would have this type of penalty, and last game a stonewall penalty.
‘But what [referee] Andre Marriner did with Sadio Mane tonight, I’m not sure that’s okay to be honest. The boy tried absolutely everything [to stay up], there were a few great challenges with Walker-Peters, but a lot of situations that should have been free-kicks as well.
‘The last situation where he goes down, you see that back, in the box he hits him with his left foot and that’s another penalty. We cannot change that.
‘I heard now that Manchester United had more penalties in two years than me in five-and-a-half years. I have no idea if that’s my fault or… I don’t know how that can happen. But that is no excuse for the performance of tonight.’
On the prospect of facing United on Sunday 17 January, he added: ‘Now we go to Aston Villa [in the FA Cup], the next one. The last time we lost there pretty clear so we should make sure we don’t do that again. United is too long away to think about that already.’