Liverpool will hope to regain their place at third on the Premier League table as they travel to St. Mary’s to face Southampton.
Southampton, in some way, saved Mauricio Pellegrino’s job with a 3-2 win over West Brom, which also saw them rise above the relegation zone. The Saints now sit 2 points away from the relegation spots and would be looking to now build some daylight between them and the other teams around them.
Liverpool are very much in the running to snatch second on the Premier League table by the end of the season. The Reds have survived a minor blip against Swansea and staved off the threat of Huddersfield before an encouraging draw against Tottenham.
Southampton will now look to shock the visitors on Sunday while also welcoming Virgil van Dijk, who joined Liverpool in January, to St. Mary’s. Their fixture earlier in the season saw Liverpool register a rather unceremonious 3-0 win over the Saints at Anfield.
Ahead of their latest meeting, let us take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Mauricio Pellegrino goes into the game with just one injury headache, with Charlie Austin still sidelined. But, the manager will have new signing Guido Carrillo to cover for Austin’s absence. Fraser Forster seems to have lost his place between the posts and is likely to be on the bench again, with Alex McCarthy being entrusted by Pellegrino.
Jack Stephens has taken to Virgil Van Dijk’s departure brilliantly, producing wondrous performances for Southampton, both on the defensive front and contributing to the attack as well. He will be ably partnered by Wesley Hoedt in central defence.
Ideally, Pellegrino will opt to stick with the same eleven that beat West Brom 3-2, which will see Nathan Redmond start on the bench again, with Sofiane Boufal being preferred of late by the manager.
Southampton will look to attack Liverpool’s backline with teething balls to their wide men in order to utilise the pace and trickery of Sofiane Boufal, which is well complemented by the industry and creativity of James Ward-Prowse on the other wing.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): McCarthy; Soares, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu, Lemina; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Boufal; Carrillo
Adam Lallana proved his fitness while playing for the Under-23 side. But, he was sent off for grabbing a hold of an opposition player’s neck. While he won’t face a ban in the Premier League, Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to thrust him into the starting eleven on the back of a rather trepid showing for the Under-23s.
Joe Gomez joins Nathaniel Clyne on the sidelines, which all but confirms a start for Trent Alexander-Arnold. Ragnar Klavan has trained but Klopp is unlikely to select the Estonian into the starting lineup, with the manager likely to go with the pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren.
Georginio Wijnaldum could start in an attempt to provide more steel to the midfield against a Southampton side that will look to break on the counter at every given opportunity.
Upfront, the deadly trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah should all start, which has yielded great results and Klopp will hope for more of the same on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can; Salah, Firmino, Mane
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.66
2. Over 9.5 Match Corners @ 1.72
1. Guido Carrillo to score anytime @ 3.25
1. Interestingly, Southampton have lost just one of their last 6 games against Liverpool in all competitions.
2. Horrendous at Home? – Southampton though, have not been as competitive at home this season so far, with the club just amassing 15 points from 14 home games so far.
3. Liverpool have not conceded in their last 3 Premier League games against Southampton, who are currently struggling for goals, having scored just 28 times in 26 Premier League matches this season.
4. Southampton are unbeaten in the last 6 Premier League matches they have played on a Sunday, with 5 of them ending as draws.
5. Sadio Mane returns to his hunting ground, with a record of 5 goals in his previous 5 appearances at St. Mary’s. But, it is Mohamed Salah who is the star to look towards for goals, with the Egyptian boasting a record of 21 goals and 6 assists in 25 appearances so far.
Player to Watch
The new man has not started as brightly as he would have hoped. But, there is a sense of expectancy surrounding the striker’s ability to find the net on a consistent basis and he would love to show his talent on Sunday, against a side as formidable as Liverpool, but perhaps a side that knowingly, have a few chinks in their armour.
Southampton 1-1 Liverpool
The stage is set for Virgil van Dijk’s homecoming, and for the return of a plethora of former Southampton stars at St. Mary’s. But, the Saints have somewhat taken heart from their draw against Tottenham and subsequently, their 3-2 win over West Brom, which pulled them out of the relegation zone.
Keeping Liverpool in check is something that Swansea has already managed recently. And while Southampton can do a job on Liverpool’s attackers on their day, the Reds are likely to break through at some point. Still, we believe Guido Carrillo will come good for the Saints and is likely to be the one to snatch a point or maybe all three for the home side.
We predict a scoring draw at St. Mary’s on Sunday.