SAINTS fired a rare blank at St Mary’s and title hopefuls Liverpool kept a rare clean sheet on their travels at the weekend.

The 3-0 loss was only the third time this season that Saints had failed to score in 14 home league games – West Ham (0-0) and Chelsea (0-3) being the others.

And it was only the third time that Brendan Rodgers’ free-scoring side had kept a clean sheet away – after Aston Villa last August and at Tottenham in December.

Only four top flight teams had kept fewer clean sheets home or away heading into the weekend’s games, making the shut-out at St Mary's particularly poignant for Liverpool.

“It was really important for us to get a clean sheet,” said midfielder Jordan Henderson.

“We've been disappointed with some of the goals we've conceded over the last few weeks and have worked on it in training - and you could see that today.

“The defenders were outstanding, Simon (Mignolet, goalkeeper) was very outstanding and as a team defensively we were very good.”

Henderson added: “We knew we'd come under pressure at some point because they're a good team with good players.

“We knew we would have to deal with some pressure.

“But we handled them quite well. They had a few chances and Simon [Mignolet] made a great save, but in the second half we dealt with it better and created good some good chances.”

Liverpool have now scored three or more on 16 occasions this season, with their tally of 73 goals from 28 matches making them the Premier League's top scorers.