Liverpool will be looking to extend their winning run in the Premier League when they face off against Southampton at Anfield this weekend.
Liverpool will be aiming to strengthen their position at the top of the Premier League table when they lock horns against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton side at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
Jurgen Klopp’s merry brigade find themselves hurtling towards their maide Premier League title, having already opened up a 19-point lead over reigning champions Manchester City, who are currently second. Last time out, Liverpool beat West Ham United 2-0 at the London Stadium and will be hoping to bag another three points at the weekend.
Southampton have made a brilliant recovery after a disastrous start to the season. The Saints have not only escaped the relegation scrap, but find themselves in the top-half of the table, sitting ninth with 31 points from 24 matches. Hasenhuttl’s side have lost just one of their last nine games in all competitions, with their most recent match ending in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham (FA Cup).
The reverse fixture at the St. Mary’s saw Liverpool win 2-1 with goals coming from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, while Danny Ings scored for the home team. And ahead of their latest meeting at Anfield, we take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Liverpool have a fresh concern as Divock Origi was taken off injured in the midweek clash against West Ham. However, the Belgian is expected to be available for the weekend. Former Southampton stars Sadio Mane and Nathaniel Clyne remain sidelined, while Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner are also ruled out.
Klopp is unlikely to make a whole lot of changes to the side that won against the Hammers in midweek. No alterations are expected at the back with Alisson Becker the mainstay in goal, shielded by a backline comprising of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson.
Changes, if any, are likely to come in the middle of the park, with Fabinho knocking on the doors after being back to fitness. The Brazilian ought to come in at the base of the three-man midfield allowing captain Jordan Henderson to move into a slightly advanced role. Gini Wijnaldum will likely to take up the other midfield slot against Southampton.
Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are surefire starters in the Liverpool attacking line. But, with Mane injured and Origi also a doubt for the game, it could be an opportunity for Klopp to hand January signing Takumi Minamino a start on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Minamino
Southampton will be without midfielder Stuart Armstrong who is out with an injury. However, Hasenhuttl will be boosted by the returns of Jannik Vestergaard and Shane Long, while Yan Valery is also back in training. New signing Kyle Walker-Peters, on loan from Tottenham, is unlikely to be involved.
The Saints have set up in a 4-4-2 formation in recent fixtures and are likely to go in with the same tactics against Liverpool. The goal will be guarded by Alex McCarthy, who is likely to be in for a busy afternoon. Jack Stephens and the returning Vestergaard should form the centre-back partnership while Valery and Ryan Bertrand take up the full-back slots.
In the centre of the park, captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg should start, provided he does not seal a transfer on the deadline day amid interest from Tottenham. Partnering him ought to be Englishman James Ward-Prowse. The width will come from Moussa Djenepo and Sofiane Boufal, who will look to target any space left behind by Liverpool’s attack-minded full-backs.
Former Liverpool striker Danny Ings has had a brilliant season so far. Having scored in the reverse fixture, the Englishman will be aiming to find the net on his return to Anfield. Partnering him at the top of Southampton attack will be the pacy Nathan Redmond.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): McCarthy; Valery, Stephens, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Boufal; Ings, Redmond
- Liverpool have won their last five Premier League games against Southampton, scoring 13 goals and conceding just two in this run.
- Southampton have won three of their last 30 away top-flight matches against Liverpool (D10 L17) and are winless in five (D2 L3) since winning 1-0 in September 2013.
- Liverpool have won their last 19 Premier League home games – only Manchester City have ever had a longer such run in the competition (20 between March 2011-March 2012). Indeed, in top-flight history only four teams have ever won 20+ consecutive home league games, with Liverpool holding the outright record (21 between January-December 1972).
- Southampton have won just four of their 40 away Premier League matches on Merseyside against Everton and Liverpool (D11 L25), winning none of their last 11 visits (D4 L7).
- As well as being unbeaten in 52 Premier League home games, Liverpool have scored in each of their last 27 at Anfield in the competition. They last scored in more in a row in the top-flight between May 1967 and February 1969 (38 games).
Player to Watch
Salah was on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win against West Ham earlier in the week, taking his tally in the Premier League for the season to 12 goals in 21 matches, along with six assists to go with it. With it, the Egyptian star also surpassed former Liverpool hero Fernando Torres in all-time PL goalscoring charts for the club, taking his tally to 66 strikes.
The 27-year-old has an exceptional record against Southampton, having been directly involved in six goals in five PL appearances against Southampton (5 goals, 1 assist). Salah has netted three times in his two home matches against the Saints and will be hoping to feed off his past success to fire Liverpool to another win on Saturday and catch up to his rivals in the Golden Boot race.
Liverpool 2-0 Southampton
Southampton have done exceptionally well to put themselves in the position they are in currently after a calamitous start to the season. However, going to Anfield to take on an unbeaten Liverpool side will be a huge challenge. The Reds have turned Anfield into an impregnable fortress, having not lost in their own backyard in over 50 matches.
The Saints will not make it easy for the champions-elect, but the form and confidence Liverpool are in, it will be hard to stop them, especially on home turf. And that is why, we at The Hard Tackle are backing Jurgen Klopp & co. to pick up another win and take another step closer towards the title.