Liverpool will be looking to go clear atop the Premier League table once again as they take on Southampton at St. Mary’s on Monday Night.
The New Year’s first gameweek is upon Liverpool, who will be looking stretch their lead at the top of the Premier League table. However, Manchester United are now breathing down their neck, with only goal difference keeping Liverpool on the top of the league table right now.
Jurgen Klopp would be wary of his side’s inability to sweep away teams this season, especially with the recent strings of draws. Consecutive draws against Newcastle and West Brom are evidence of an out-of-form attack, which would be concerning for fans and the club alike.
Southampton are facing issues of their own. After a stellar start to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign. However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are now winless in four league games and could soon drop out of the top half of the table if their rut continues.
Interestingly, Liverpool’s last visit to St. Mary’s saw them come away with all three points with a narrow 1-2 win, with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings among the goals on the day. Let us now take a closer look at how the squads are shaping up.
Team News & Tactics
Hasenhuttl’s Southampton thrive on a pressure system that emphasize value in set-pieces, which makes the 4-4-2 an ideal setup for the club. Alex McCarthy is out after testing positive, with Fraser Forster likely to take his place in goal against Liverpool. Jannik Vestergaard will be a big miss for Southampton but Jack Stephens will be expected to fill in at central defence alongside Jan Bednarek.
Theo Walcott has forged a place in the Southampton midfield due to his performances and Hasenhuttl will start the big game player on the left, with Stuart Armstrong on the right, especially with Nathan Redmond doubtful for the game. Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse will look to create chances and stifle Liverpool’s midfielders for space simultaneously.
Danny Ings returned against West Ham and will push for a start against his former club. Che Adamas is guaranteed a start and Ings should ideally come in for Shane Long upfront. The manager will hope to earn more set-pieces and use Ward-Prowse’s superiority in dead-ball situations along with the height of the players.
Hasenhuttl might take a cue from Liverpool’s last two draws and try and frustrate the visitors with a similar level of discipline and containment strategy on Monday Night.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Forster; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Walcott; Adams, Ings
The central defence continues to be a problem area for Jurgen Klopp, what with all the injuries and Joel Matip can be added to that list. Fabinho will be deputised in the position, with the Brazilian putting in comfortable performances in the said position. Nathaniel Phillips featured in the 0-0 draw against Newcastle and it might be time for Rhys Williams to get a start.
There is no looking past Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson for the full-back positions. Georginio Wijnaldum will take his rightful place in midfield after being rested at Newcastle. Jordan Henderson and Thiago should accompany the Dutch international, with the former Bayern Munich midfielder returning to action against Newcastle.
With Diogo Jota still out, Jurgen Klopp will hope for the terrific trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane to find their scoring boots once again.
Thiago’s presence should add the creative oomph needed for Liverpool to maybe unlock tight defensive setups and convert draws into wins.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane
1. Liverpool to win @ 1.61
1. Correct Scoreline – Southampton 1-2 Liverpool @ 9.00
1. Liverpool have failed to score on only one of their last five league visits to St. Mary’s.
2. Liverpool have a woeful away Premier League record this season, with just 2 wins from 8 visits.
3. Southampton have failed to score in 3 consecutive Premier League games coming into the game against Liverpool.
4. Despite having an underwhelming season by his standards, Mohamed Salah has 16 goal contributions (13G, 3A) in 15 Premier League appearances.
5. Danny Ings has scored twice and provided 3 assists in 6 home league games so far this season.
Player to Watch
For all the talk about Liverpool’s attack underperforming, Salah has been having a good season by normal standards. With 13 goals in 15 Premier League appearances, the Egyptian international is currently leading the scoring charts in the league. However, apart from Diogo Jota, Salah has not had much support in his attacking endeavours this season.
Inconsistency has seeped into the Liverpool attack and with the Reds entering a frustrating run, it would be up to their talisman to bail them out once again. Salah loves scoring against Southampton, with 7 goals in 6 games against them so far.
That combined with the fact that the forward has not gone more than 2 league games without a goal this season and he has not scored in his last two almost makes it certain for Salah’s name to potentially appear on the scoresheet on Monday Night.
Southampton 1-2 Liverpool
Liverpool and Southampton do have close games every time they meet. However, Ralph Hasenhuttl has instilled an air of stability at St. Mary’s after a tumultuous period at the club. Liverpool’s away form does make this an interesting fixture.
However, Hasenhuttl’s side have not scored in their last three and will be eager to not make it four out of four, especially with Liverpool set to field a makeshift central defensive partnership.
Liverpool on the other hand, will look to improve their away form and also do appear to score every time they are under the cosh. With Manchester United level on points, the Reds will have the motivation to win and that should catapult the visitors to a 2-1 win on Monday Night.