Liverpool will be looking to regain third spot when they host Southampton on Sunday.
The Reds will end this season without winning any silverware, but it still can be considered as a success for them. After joining midway through the 2015/16 season, Jurgen Klopp has done a phenomenal job with his Liverpool side.
After missing out on European qualification last term, Klopp’s Liverpool have all but secured a place in next season’s Champions League. They have an easier run-in as compared to Manchester City and United, and should end up in the top four.
However, it’s easier said than done in the Premier League, and the Reds will have to pick up three points against Southampton if they are to regain third place and dominate the race for the top four.
Manchester City beat Crystal Palace on Saturday, and piled the pressure on Liverpool. They are level on points with the Reds with the same amount of games played, but boast a better goal difference than the Merseyside club.
Southampton, who have nothing to play for, may be one of the ideal teams Liverpool could face as they are closing in on a Champions League berth, but will have to be at their best to get one over the Saints at Anfield.
Team News and Tactics
Simon Mignolet will start in goal for Liverpool with a back four of Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and James Milner ahead of him. Georginio Wijnaldum will partner Lucas Leiva and Emre Can in midfield.
Due to the absence of Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane in the final third, Adam Lallana will move to an advanced position, and is expected to be accompanied by Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool Probable XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Wijnaldum, Leiva, Can; Lallana, Sturridge, Firmino.
For Southampton, Fraser Forster is the go to man in goal. Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand will start as full-backs, with Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida playing as centre-backs. Virgil van Dijk and Sam McQueen continue to be ruled out.
Oriol Romeu will anchor the midfield and is expected to be joined by James Ward-Prowse and Stephen Davis. In the final third, Nathan Redmond and Dusan Tadic are likely to play on the wings with Manolo Gabbiadini leading the line.
Southampton Probable XI: Forster; Soares, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand; Davis, Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Gabbiadini, Tadic.
- Jurgen Klopp hasn’t won any of his three previous Premier League games against Southampton (D2 L1). Liverpool had won their previous three v Saints prior to his arrival.
- Daniel Sturridge has played just 1316 minutes of Premier League football since Jurgen Klopp took over as Liverpool manager – just 22% of the possible minutes during this time and less than 17 other Liverpool players.
- Divock Origi has appeared in 40 different competitive games for Liverpool so far in 2016-17; more than any other player in the squad. Over half of these (21) have come as a substitute, however.
- Manolo Gabbiadini scored four goals in his first three Premier League appearances (248 mins), but since then he’s failed to score and attempted just one shot on target in 237 Premier League minutes (four apps).
- Even if Southampton win their remaining five Premier League matches this season, they’ll still fall below their league points tally in 2015-16 (63) and 2014-15 (60) and would only be able to equal their tally in 2013-14 (56).
- Seven of Southampton’s 11 Premier League wins in 2016-17 have come on a Sunday. In fact, only Manchester United (8) and Tottenham (8) have won more games played on a Sunday in the Premier League this season than Claude Puel’s side.
Player to watch out for
Liverpool are not ending the season on the best of terms on the injuries front. After Sadio Mane was ruled out for the season, they now have to deal without Philippe Coutinho’s services in the final third, at least for the next match.
Klopp has fielded Divock Origi in the absence of Mane, but is likely to start with Daniel Sturridge for this one. The English striker has had a torrid time dealing with injuries, but is now fit, and hopes to end the campaign on a good note.
He will be looking to add to his goals and be a key component in the Reds’ attack against the Saints. He could ease Roberto Firmino’s load in the final third by finding the back of the net and securing the three points with Liverpool.
Liverpool 2-1 Southampton
Despite their injuries, Liverpool go into this game on a strong note, and unlike their opponents have a lot to play for on Sunday. They are the stronger team on paper, and boast a solid bench than the Saints.
The visitors will not make it easy for them and may even score the odd goal. But, Liverpool seem outright favourites, and will pick up the three points they need.