LIVERPOOL VS SOUTHAMPTON: PREVIEW
Following the penalty shootout victory over Derby County in the Carabao Cup, Liverpool now switch attention to Premier League duties. Southampton visit Anfield tomorrow for a traditional 3pm (GMT) kickoff. Here’s a preview of the game.
The Reds sealed qualification to the fourth round of the League Cup in midweek, after a team largely dominated by youngsters came out on top in the shootout following three incredible saves by Caomhin Kelleher.
It was a seventh victory in the last nine for the Reds across all competitions, with the two defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United still sticking in the craw. The Reds will be aiming to make it eight wins in ten before the World Cup break.
That will form a solid bedrock for the side to build on post World Cup. Having lost to bottom of the table Forest and 19th placed Leeds, Jürgen Klopp’s men will have to be wary not to repeat the same mistakes against 18th placed Southampton.
With all the XI that started at Spurs being rested for the League Cup, they should be fresh for the task at hand. Victory tomorrow is absolutely imperative. It not only puts the Reds in a better position on the league table, but wraps up a more than decent run heading into the break.
The Saints themselves have endured a torrid season thus far, losing eight league matches (no side has lost more). Austrian boss Ralph Hassenhutl has since been relieved of his duties, with Luton Town head coach Nathan Jones being appointed in his stead.
The last manager to head to Anfield for his first game in charge left with a point; Roberto De Zerbi masterminded Brighton’s display in the entertaining 3-3 draw. It’s just one win in nine for Southampton, with the Saints earning just five points in that run. Jones has a lot of work to do.
The new manager feeling is bound to give the side a new lease of life. The Reds need to make sure they don’t gift the visitors any encouragement. There can be no silly errors at the back and definitely no headstart given.
With Newcastle playing Chelsea this weekend, it is an opportunity for the Reds to close the gap to the teams above them. Victory over Southampton and a few other results going our way could see the Reds go into the break in sixth place, handily placed to attack the rest of the season.
Jürgen Klopp boasts an excellent record against the Saints. His first two home games against them ended in stalemates but since then he’s overseen five successive victories to the tune of 16-0. This bodes well for tomorrow.
For Liverpool, James Milner is back in training after fulfilling the concussion protocol following a head injury picked up against Napoli. Joel Matip is also close to a return after being involved in some parts of training. Naby Keita is not quite ready despite being back running.
Luis Diaz is also running. The Colombian is expected to be available for the training camp in Dubai. Diogo Jota and Arthur Melo remain out, whilst for Southampton, Kyle Walker-Peters (thigh), Juan Larios (adductor) and Valentino Livramento (knee) are absent.
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