Liverpool host Southampton tomorrow (3:00pm GMT) in matchday 13 of this Premier League season. The Reds lie 3rd in the league table, four points behind leaders Chelsea, whilst Southampton sit 13th with a five point buffer over the relegation places. Read on for a preview of the game.

Hassenhutl’s Southampton are a well oiled pressing machine and have given the Reds a game every time they’ve met. They’re a well drilled side and have been hard to break down this season. They have the joint 5th best defence so far, conceding 14 goals, whilst losing just 4 times, with only 6 teams losing less games this season.

Ralph Hassenhutl will hope his side can steer clear from the relegation battle again this season, having finished 15th in the league last season with a 15 points cushion over 18th placed Fulham. After losing Danny Ings, they were expected to struggle but have been quietly solid, last week’s defeat to Norwich aside.

They have managed to hold the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea to draws this season. When they get into their defensive shape, they are a tough nut to crack. Keeping a clean sheet at the Etihad is no mean feat, but the Saints managed it. It will be a similar approach at Anfield tomorrow as they aim for another upset.

For all their excellent work defensively, Southampton can be toothless in attack. They rank 18th for shots on target (3.6 per 90) and 19th for goals scored (11). Only Norwich City have scored less goals (7) this season. That is perhaps where the loss of Ings is keenly felt, as Che Adams and Adam Armstrong try to replace the goals.

In this fixture last season, Liverpool managed to win 2-0 but it was no straightforward affair. Southampton spurned three big chances before Thiago scored late (his first for the club) to add to Mané’s opener and seal victory. They had to dig deep to earn that victory and you sense it could be another tight encounter.

The Reds have been particularly free scoring this season as they lead the way in the top flight for shots on target (7.2 per 90) and goals scored (35). Arsenal were taken apart at Anfield last week to the tune of a 4-0 deficit, before a rotated side despatched Porto 2-0. It’s been a good response to the defeat at West Ham.

Jurgen Klopp’s side also lead the way for possession won in the final third (74), as they continue to adapt a high press game. It is quite devastating how these world class players apply a press, as Arsenal found out last week. Huge credit must go to the manager for getting some of the best players in the world to buy into his vision.

We saw Pochettino’s PSG in midweek, and the three forwards basically walk about whilst the rest of the team chase for the ball. Liverpool’s front three are stars in their own right, yet there is no compromise on the team’s values as they lead the press. They say a team mirrors it’s manager, and Klopp reflects favourably in this light.

With Chelsea and Man City not playing till Sunday, Liverpool have an opportunity to apply some pressure on them. A victory here and they’ll move second, a point behind the Blues and two above the Citizens. As stubborn as Southampton can be, this is a game Liverpool should be winning.

7 points have been dropped against Brentford, Brighton and West Ham. That’s unsustainable in a title challenge. Teams like that should be put away with minimum fuss, especially at home. The Reds are now 10 PL games unbeaten at Anfield (after that wretched run), they will have to stay perfect at home to win this title.

Team News

For Liverpool, Elliott, Gomez ,Jones, Firmino and Keita remain out. Every member of the squad used against Porto on Wednesday should be available however. For Southampton, Stuart Armstrong is out with a calf injury whilst Jack Stephens is back in training after a long time out. He is unlikely to be ready. Djenepo and Redmond should be involved.

Key Players

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Alexander-Arnold returning the applause of the Anfield crowd

The Scouser has been sensational this season, with his brand of playmaking from a right back starting position proving too much for teams to handle. He’s been pulling into the middle of the pitch a lot this season, and his combination with Henderson (usually) and Salah is very fruitful. He’s on 1 goal and 12 assists already for club and country.

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian remains topscorer (11) and top assister (7 – level with Pogba) in the Premier League this season. He netted his 17th goal in his 17th appearance of the season against Porto in the Champions League with a trademark dribble and finish. He’s red hot right now and will be key to any Liverpool attack in this fixture.

James Ward-Prowse

The 27 year old is arguably Southampton’s best player. He captains the side and is the heartbeat of it. His ability to whip in a set piece makes him dangerous and the Reds won’t want to give away any cheap free kicks or corners. He’s yet to score from open play this season, with his 2 league goals both coming from the spot.



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