Liverpool have an excellent chance to put themselves within touching distance of that much craved Champions League place by beating Southampton at Anfield on Sunday, minutes before their two biggest rivals for fourth face off against one another.
Match: Liverpool vs Southampton
Referee: Bobby Madley
Date: Sunday 7th May
Time: 13:30 BST
Liverpool were given a huge let off last weekend as dropped points from the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal losing to Spurs meant that they didn’t slip to fifth before playing Watford.
They took their chance at Vicarage Road, winning 1-0 thanks to the sensational Emre Can strike you’ve all seen a million times. I’m upset that Sky Sports haven’t yet dedicated a channel to it.
That win was Liverpool’s third on the bounce when it comes to their away travels, and their sixth in their last nine Premier League games, the Reds impressively grinding it out in their battle to land themselves back in the Champions League next season. If Manchester City win their game in hand, at home to Crystal Palace, by more than a goal then they’ll return to third before the Reds play, but it’s the game after Liverpool’s that matters more than City vs Palace.
If Liverpool can manage to beat Southampton and then watch United and Arsenal draw, they’d have a three point cushion over United and a five point one over the Gunners, even if the pair won their games in hand.
Southampton won’t be easy opposition though, something Liverpool know all too well as they’ve not beaten the Saints in three attempts this term.
Sitting comfortably in ninth with 41 points, Claude Puel’s team are ending the season fairly strongly and haven’t failed to score away from home since January. They’re winless in three though, drawing 0-0 at home to Hull last time out.
Jurgen Klopp thanked the scheduling gods as Liverpool playing on Monday night last gameweek allowed Adam Lallana some extra training sessions, but he may now be ruing them as Philippe Coutinho faces a battle to be fit after sustaining a dead leg at Vicarage Road.
Elsewhere, Adam Lallana could stake a claim to start after managing 70 odd minutes following Coutinho’s withdrawal on Monday, whilst Daniel Sturridge might feel he deserves some more minutes given Divock Origi’s lack of goals recently.
Reported Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk is the biggest absentee for the Saints, something that’ll help Liverpool chisel open a tough defence. Charlie Austin is a doubt.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Lucas, Can, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Where to start? When they last met in the league, it was at Anfield and Liverpool huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the Southampton house down in a 0-0 draw. The last time they played was in the League Cup semi-final a few months back, games in which Liverpool didn’t do themselves any justice in in the January crisis, Saints winning each leg 1-0 before going on to lose in the final.
PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL 2-0 SOUTHAMPTON
I’m being positive, don’t @ me! Incoming loss, then. In all seriousness, Southampton have little to play for and with Lallana and Sturridge back in the fold, Jurgen Klopp now has one or two options available that he didn’t a few weeks ago. Should the German use them correctly, Liverpool should emerge the victors. Firmino x2 on the scoresheet.