St. Mary’s, Southampton,
Wednesday, 2nd December
Jurgen Klopp’s men travel to St. Mary’s to take on Southampton knowing that a win would book a place in the League Cup semi-finals, a tournament in which they lost at the same stage under Brendan Rodgers last season.
Klopp has so far taken all cup competitions very seriously and his pre-match comments indicates that he is going to field his strongest possible side against Southampton, with Henderson, Sturridge and Coutinho all available.
Southampton on the other hand will be looking to cap their second season under Ronald Koeman with a trophy, and the League Cup represents a fine opportunity.
Southampton Team News & Tactics
Southampton will be without the services of key defender Jose Fonte, who is likely to miss the game after suffering a hamstring injury against Manchester City. Defender Steven Caulker is the most likely candidate to replace him.
The defence is likely to consist of goalkeeper Martin Stekelenberg, Caulker, Ryan Bertrand, Yoshida and Dijk.
Wanyama and Romeu are expected to make it difficult for the Reds in the middle of the field in their holding midfield role.
While Davies, Ward-Prowse and Mane are expected to play behind the lone forward, with Graziano Pelle expected to return having sat out weekend’s defeat to Manchester City through suspension.
Southampton Predicted XI: Stekelenberg; Yoshida, Bertrand, Caulker, Dijk; Wanyama, Romeu; Davies, Ward-Browse, Mane; Pelle.
Liverpool FC Team News & Tactics
Liverpool FC will have, for the first time this season, all three in Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho, arguably their three best players, available together for selection.
The returning trio will be a huge shot in the arm for the Reds, with Lucas also returning from suspension.
Klopp is expected to field a strong side, having so far done so in Europa League too and his press conference indicated nothing less.
Goalkeeper Adam Bogdan is expected to line up in goal, with Simon Mignolet to be rested. With Mamadou Sakho out injured, Kolo Toure is likely to start in order to give rest to Martin Skrtel in defence that may consist of the Ivorian, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno.
Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva may play in the midfield, with captain Milner rested alongwith Emre Can. The attacking midfield positions are likely to be occupied by Phillipe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino.
Christian Benteke is the player thrusted with the responsibility of heading the attack and the big Belgian is more than capable of making life difficult for the makeshift Southampton central defence.
Predicted Liverpool FC XI: . Bogdan; Lovren, Toure, Clyne, Moreno; Allen, Lucas; Coutinho, Lallana, Firmino; Benteke.
Man to Watch: Adam Lallana
The former Southampton man has had a somewhat of a hit and miss start at Anfield. Lallana had scored only five goals since leaving Southampton in July 2014, but he has been one of the best players during Klopp’s two month in charge.
Lallana will be hoping to show is former employees what they are missing when he travels to his old stomping ground with the the Reds.
- Southampton have made the quarter-finals for the second successive season, having lost at this stage to Sheffield United in 2014-15.
- Last time Southampton went beyond quarter final stage was in 1987, losing to opponents Liverpool in the semi-final.
- Eight-time winners Liverpool are looking to reach the semi-final stage for the third time in five seasons.
- Southampton have lost their last two home games (in all competitions) v Liverpool, having won the previous three in a row.
- Sadio Mane scored and was sent off in the meeting with Liverpool in October, which ended 1-1 at Anfield.
- Christian Benteke has scored in each of his last two games against Southampton, both in the Premier League.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Liverpool FC
The Reds are in fine form under Klopp, and with most of the star players returning from injury, Liverpool are not only boosted with their technical skills, the morale in the dressing room also improves.
While Southampton are no pushover and Liverpool will find it hard to beat them, they should have enough in their tank to blast past the Saints.