Liverpool vs Southampton – FA Cup 5th Round Preview

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EFL Cup Triumph and the Quick Turnaround

Post-Wembley Euphoria Meets Squad Rotation

After securing the 2023/24 EFL Cup sheikh their Wembley visit at the weekend, only a few days will pass before Liverpool FC are called into action once more. The reds 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday (after extra time) will have created a spring in the step of many senior and junior assets at the AXA Training Centre. Despite the euphoria that would have engulfed the red half of Merseyside this week, fatigue and injuries are a real problem that must now be considered when deciphering the next starting eleven. I suspect that a raft of first team players will be rested in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest, given the ongoing battle for the Premier League. With that, this Wednesday night encounter under the Anfield lights could see the EFL youngsters rewarded with midweek starts, which is an enticing prospect for the grateful fanbase.

Photo: IMAGO

Squad and Injury Update

In terms of availability, Juan Larios and Ross Stewart are confirmed as out, whilst the rest of the squad remain at the manager’s disposal. The Saints currently sit 4th in the Championship, after accruing 67-points from 34-games played. Automatic promotion will not be a likely option this season, therefore, Russell Martin will be looking for a successful playoff run and bounce back immediately into the Premier League.

Analyzing the Opposition’s Form

Regarding recent form, the south coast club have lost their last two games, with both ending 1-2 at home to Hull City and more recently, Millwall. Prior to that double defeat, West Bromwich Albion were overcome at the Hawthorn’s, by a solid 0-2 margin. A good winning run was undertaken prior to their recent dip in form, which has lessened their chances of a top two finish in the second tier of English football.

Predicted Visitor’s Line-Up

A predicted line up for the visitors is listed below, in a 4-3-3 formation. The ethos will be to overwhelm and dominate a younger side, with counterattacking patterns of play.

  • GK – Gavin Bazunu
  • RB – Taylor Harwood-Bellis
  • RCB – Jack Stephens
  • LCB – Jan Bednarek
  • LB – Ryan Manning
  • RCM – Joe Aribo
  • CDM – Will Smallbone
  • LCM – David Brookes
  • RW – Samuel Edozie
  • CF – Adam Armstrong
  • LW – Ryan Fraser

Liverpool’s Injury Concerns

In terms of injures, the Spanish pair of Thiago Alcântara and Stefan Bajčetić remain sidelined for an undisclosed period of time. Joël Matip has sustained a season ending ACL injury, one that may have seen him play his last game for the club. Trent Alexander Arnold, Alisson Becker, and Curtis Jones, are out for a few more weeks, whilst Diogo Jota is sidelined for a couple of months after a knee injury at the weekend. Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endō sustained injuries at the weekend, which makes participation unlikely for Southampton’s visit. Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Darwin Núñez are expected to overcome recent complaints and could make the bench, however, is more likely that they will be held back for Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest.

Photo: IMAGO

Liverpool’s Recent Victories

Regarding recent form, Liverpool beat Chelsea to claim the EFL Cup on Sunday, after a 4-1 thumping of Luton at Anfield a week ago. That one sided encounter was a repeat of the score line prior, as Jürgen Klopp’s men recorded a 1-4 win at Brentford. Those two wins came after a 3-1 home win against Burnley, to make for a largely successful month of February. The reds currently sit top of the English Premier League, after attaining 60 points from 26-games played.

Predicted Home Side’s Line-Up

Below is the team I believe the reds German manager will start on Wednesday, which will see a raft of senior players sat ready and waiting on the substitutes bench.

  • GK – Caoimhin Kelleher
  • RB – Conor Bradley
  • RCB – Jarell Quansah
  • LCB – Joe Gomez (c)
  • LB – Kostas Tsimikas
  • RCM – Bobby Clark
  • CDM – Trey Nyoni
  • LCM – James McConnell
  • RF – Lewis Koumas
  • CF – Jayden Danns
  • LF – Kaide Gordan

Match Dynamics and Prospects

The recent EFL Cup final win will do little to appease the insane recent schedule of games and injury concerns. I fully expect the reds to roll the dice for the first half, with a starting team of younger

Score Prediction;

Liverpool 4 – 2 Southampton

Steven Smith

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