Liverpool and Southampton face off tonight for the first time this season. The mighty Reds and the solid Saints both go into this match eager to get a result. This means that we might get treated to a fantastic viewing experience. In this article, we will be doing an in-depth preview of this vital match.
Build-up and Form
Liverpool’s form has seen a steady but definite decline in the past few games. A thumping 0-7 win against Palace was followed by draws against relegation candidate West Brom and mid-table Newcastle. This meant that they opened the title race for other contenders like Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. The aforementioned three have taken advantage of this blip in Liverpool’s form, winning their matches this game week and closing the gap to the top of the table. Jurgen Klopp’s men will be eager not to lose or draw this match and lose further ground on their rejuvenated title rivals.
Southampton started the season brilliantly and was in the top four for the majority of the first few game weeks. Pundits and players alike started to believe that they had what it takes to qualify for Europe. This seems to be a bit far-fetched but a testament to how well the Saints started the season. Recently, however, their form has declined and they have drawn three of their last four Premier League games. Which has resulted in them drop to 9th in the table. They will be looking forward to snatching a few points from what will be a difficult match against the defending champions.
Team News and Predicted Lineups
They are without Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk for the remainder of the season, as a result of their severe knee injuries. Joel Matip is also expected to miss this match through injury. As a result, Liverpool will be forced to start either Nat Phillips or Rhys Williams at center-back alongside the ever-present Fabinho. In midfield, Naby Keita misses out. The Guinean has been through a number of injuries in his stint at Liverpool. Which has greatly hampered his chances of establishing himself as a first-team regular. Thiago is expected to start. After seeing his stunning cameo at the end of the Newcastle game.
Predicted Lineup – Liverpool – 4-3-3
DEFENCE – Robertson, Fabinho, Williams, Alexander-Arnold,
MIDFIELD- Henderson, Wijnaldum, Thiago,
ATTACK- Salah, Mané, Firmino
They will be without veteran Alex McCarthy in goal as he tested positive for COVID-19. Fraser Forster will come in as his substitute. Upfront, Danny Ings made his return last match and will be raring to face his former club. However, he will be missing his partner in crime Ché Adams, who is expected to watch from the sidelines tonight. Tall center back Jannik Vestergaard will also miss this match.
Predicted Lineup – Southampton – 4-4-2
DEFENCE- Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand,
MIDFIELD -Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo,
ATTACK – Ings, Long
- Liverpool has one of the worst away records in the league at the moment, having won just two of their eight matches on the road so far.
- Liverpool’s Mo Salah is the current top scorer in the English Premier League, with 13 goals to his name.
- 3 points in this match would take Southampton to 6th place in the table, above Everton and Villa
- This will be the first match missed by Alex McCarthy and Ché Adams this season
- Danny Ings has been Southampton’s top scorer so far, with 6 goals.
Players to watch out for
The Newcastle game brought a number of negatives to light for the Reds, however the one shining positive was Thiago’s performance. Thiago, coming on as a sub around the 70th minute, produced a world class display and singlehandedly added another dimension to the Red’s faltering midfield. Klopp has already tipped the Spaniard to start in tonight’s fixture and it will be exciting to see his broad range of passing and dribbling skills at work once again.
Liverpool has suffered a major crisis at Center back this season and currently are without three of their main senior CBS. Fabinho, a CDM, who has been playing as a makeshift Cb. He has been vital in the heart of their defense this season and will be tasked with handling Ings and Long in tonight’s match. A good performance from him can result in Liverpool keeping a clean sheet en route to an important three points.
The Winchester native is on the back of one of his best-ever professional seasons last year, having scored 22 goals in 38 appearances in the Premier League. The England international has become known for his clinical finishing and impressive physicality which has helped propel him and his Southampton side to the heights they reached during Hassenhuttl’s reign. He will be eagerly waiting to punish the Reds on counterattacks, and take advantage of their shaky and temporary Centre back partnership to get on the scoresheet once again.
The Southampton captain is a mainstay in the heart of their midfield. His dead ball abilities are considered amongst the best in the world and he is a dangerous threat from free-kicks and corners. Liverpool has suffered from set-pieces this season, and Ward Prowse has the ability to capitalize when given the opportunity.
t’s a must win game for Liverpool and a chance to capitalize on their opposition’s shaky form to get their season back on track. The saints however have proved that they are not an easy opponent to face and we might see a match where the two teams play attractive football to get the result they desire.
For more such articles click here