December 01, 2012; 15:00 CST
After another frustrating night at White Hart Lane, The Reds will be looking to pick up all three points against newly promoted Southampton on Saturday. Brendan Rodgers’ side has flattered to deceive and Liverpool find themselves closer to the relegation zone than to their top four target. A run of kind fixtures leading up to the New Year could present a real opportunity for The Reds to climb up the table.
Teams battling against relegation however, always present a tough challenge and Southampton will no doubt prove to be a difficult opponent. Much like their more illustrious counterparts, Southampton have not been able to rack up the points in spite of playing some good football. The Saints failed to pick up three points at home to rivals Norwich and the pressure will be on manager Nigel Adkins to start delivering results as the festive season approaches.
Anfield was once a bastion of invincibility, but it has become a happy hunting ground for away teams during recent years. Southampton have found some form after a difficult start and Nigel Adkins will be setting out his side to claim all three points against a fragile Liverpool side. Rodgers on the other hand, will be looking for back to back home wins at Anfield for the first time in over a year.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Liverpool will be boosted by the return of Lucas Leiva to the first team. The Brazilian has come a long way from being a scapegoat to being one of the most pivotal players in the Liverpool line-up. Andre Wisdom is expected to be fit for the game after missing out on midweek through injury. Barring long-term injury absentees, Fabio Borini and Martin Kelly, Brendan Rodgers has a full squad to choose from.
Pepe Reina looks to be back in good form and will continue in goal. Andre Wisdom will start at right back while Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger will play as centre backs. Glen Johnson has been magnificent at left back for Liverpool and is expected to continue.
Rodgers may choose to rest some of his players ahead an important Europa League game. Jordan Henderson is expected to start this game alongside Nuri Sahin in central midfield. Gerrard has played 4 games in 10 days for Liverpool and he may be given a rest. Jonjo Shelvey would start in his absence.
Jose Enrique has enjoyed life playing as a winger and is expected to start on the left. Wonder-kid Suso is expected to start on the opposite flank while Raheem Sterling gets a rest. Luis Suarez shall once again start as the focal point of Liverpool’s attack and shall be looking to fire his team to victory.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Reina; Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Henderson, Sahin, Shelvey; Suso, Suarez, Enrique.
After suffering a torrid start in Premier League, Nigel Adkins’ Southampton side has shown some impressive form to notch up 8 points in the last 4 games. Bigs guns Gaston Ramirez and Rickie Lambert have started firing and the team go to Anfield in a positive frame of mind.
Nigel Adkins has had a few injury problems in recent weeks but now has a fully fit squad to choose from. Southampton are expected to line-up in a 4-4-1-1 formation against Liverpool on Saturday. Paolo Gazzaniga has made a few glaring errors in recent weeks but the manager is expected to stick with the Argentinian at Anfield.
Gazzaniga will be shielded by centre-backs Yoshida and Fonte. While Clyne and Shaw are expected to line-up in the full back positions. Schneiderlin and Cork will be expected to keep the Liverpool central midfield trio at bay while Lallana and Puncheon will be providing the threat from the wings.
Southampton’s star signing Gaston Ramirez shall be playing in the hole behind centre forward Rickie Lambert. Ramirez has shown some good form since returning from injury and his link-up with target man Rickie Lambert will be key to Southampton’s fortunes.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-4-1-1): Gazzaniga; Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw;Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana; Ramirez;Lambert;
Players To Watch Out For
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
After scoring a hatful of goals in recent weeks Luis Suarez has failed to find the back of the net in the last two games. Suarez remains as hungry for goals as ever and the Uruguayan could well have a lot of joy against a shaky Southampton defence. Suarez will be looking to drop deep and drag the centre-backs out of position while Enrique and Suso would be looking to exploit the space left behind to create goal-scoring opportunities. Suarez will be central to every attacking move for Liverpool and the Southampton defence will have to be on top form to stop him from scoring.
Gaston Ramirez (Southampton)
Luis Suarez’s compatriot drew a lot of attention when he signed for Southampton after snubbing interest from a lot of top clubs. Ramirez’s season got off to a slow start but the Uruguayan has now found form after coming back from injury. Ramirez will look to play off Rickie Lambert and exploit the space between the Liverpool centre-backs and midfield. Ramirez is one of the main creative forces for The Saints and Nigel Adkins will be looking towards him to provide some teeth to Southampton’s attack.
Liverpool 3 – 1 Southampton
Liverpool have played well and have often battered teams this season without winning. The game against Tottenham was no exception and Liverpool will be looking to vent their frustration this Saturday. Southampton have played well in recent weeks and will be expected to fight but Liverpool should walk away with three points from this fixture.
Blast From The Past