Liverpool vs Southampton Preview - Reds continue battle to keep dwindling top-four hopes alive
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Kevin Friend
Date & Time – Saturday, May 8th @ 20:15
Current Odds – Liverpool 1/4, Draw 5/1, Southampton 10/1
It’s our second-last game at Anfield this season. In the last year, we’ve tasted the magnificent highs of Premier League success – the club’s 19th league title. However, crushing blows would follow. Most notably the season-ending injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, followed by the worst home league run in LFC’s illustrious history. Many of us are thankful it’s all slowly drawing to a close over the next three weeks. Here’s to an injury-free pre-season and a return to the level we know our lads are capable of in 2021/22.
Liverpool have drawn their last three matches – against Real Madrid, Leeds, and Newcastle. The Reds are now 7 points behind Chelsea and a top-four finish but they do have that postponed Manchester United fixture still to play. That is their game in hand.
Jürgen Klopp’s men could not finish countless opportunities against Newcastle and, in the end, were punished by Joe Willock’s injury-time equaliser. With that, our top-four hopes faded another bit.
Southampton have not won any of their last four games in all competitions. This included a 1-0 defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup semi-final. They scored just two goals and conceded 7 in that period.
The Saints’ last win on the road in the Premier League was their victory at Sheffield United in early March. They are currently 15th in the league, 10 points above Fulham and the relegation zone.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are still missing Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joël Matip, Jordan Henderson, and Caoimhin Kelleher.
Nat Phillips was in the starting lineup for the Manchester United game that didn’t go ahead last Sunday so the centre-back should start against Southampton. Phillips will be alongside Ozan Kabak in defence with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson on either flank.
With Phillips’ return, Fabinho will be allowed to move back into midfield. Gini Wijnaldum could partner the Brazil international in a two-man midfield as Jurgen Klopp may opt for the 4-2-3-1 shape in this one.
Mohamed Salah would lead the line then, with the trio of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané just behind him.
Southampton Team News
Southampton will be without Oriol Romeu, Ryan Bertrand, Danny Ings, and Willy Smallbone. On-loan Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino will also miss the game against his parent club as per the loan agreement.
Michael Obafemi will face a late fitness test for The Saints.
Ralph Hasenhüttl has lined his Southampton team out in a 4-4-2 formation this season. Expect more of the same on Saturday night.
Nathan Redmond and Che Adams should lead the line for the visitors in the absence of Minamino and Ings.
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Jota, Firmino, Mané; Salah
Southampton XI (4-4-2) – McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Stephens; Armstrong, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Walcott; Redmond, Adams
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Former Red Danny Ings’ second-minute goal was enough to give Southampton the win when the sides met at St Mary’s back in January.
Liverpool won 4-0 at Anfield in this fixture last season thanks to second-half goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, and Mohamed Salah (x2).
LIVERPOOL 2 – 0 SOUTHAMPTON
With Southampton suffering their own injury crisis at the moment, and Liverpool having a top-four spot to play for, I think The Reds should take all three points here. Of course, they ‘should’ have taken all three points at Leeds and at home to Newcastle. As we saw, ‘should’ doesn’t mean they will. However, I do think Saturday night’s game will see a very attacking approach from Liverpool right from the start with Southampton on the back foot for most of the match.