Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 5/8
Third-placed Liverpool have got a very good chance to cement their top 4 berth by defeating indifferent Southampton at Anfield and ensure this goes down as a successful season. The Saints, on the other hand, don’t have much to play for at the moment, although they will at least attempt to achieve a top table finish.
Liverpool fans can be forgiven for feeling their beloved team could have done better this season, but if the Reds manage to finish above Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and Everton in the standings, that will be deemed a success. Securing the final automatic Champions League berth could go a long way towards preparing well for the 2017/2018 campaign, and with games against Southampton, West Ham and Middlesbrough coming up, Jurgen Klopp’s side stand a good chance of succeeding in their quest. Liverpool have been blowing hot and cold over the last couple of months, and they were quite fortunate not to be properly punished for the home loss to Crystal Palace that marred back to back away wins over Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion. The Reds also failed to impress last time out against Watford, but Emre Can’s moment of brilliance proved sufficient for a very important victory as all their top 4 rivals slipped up last weekend. Jurgen Klopp’s charges are now high on confidence ahead of the visit of Southampton although it has to be noted they failed to win their last two fixtures at Anfield.
Key midfielder Philippe Coutinho has recovered from a dead leg and he should start, but Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson are out injured.
This will go down as a largely disappointing season for Southampton, who may be sitting in the top half of the standings at the moment, but are mere nine points clear of the bottom three. The Saints did produce some promising showings during the early exchanges, but largely struggled since, and with just 41 points to their tally, a long summer is ahead. The lack of strength in depth coped with the Europa League campaign clearly took the wind out of Southampton’s sails, and with quite a few injuries to contend with, this season was always going to prove a failure. The most important thing now is to compile a detailed report of what went wrong and attempt to address the most important issues in the summer transfer window. Once again, the Saints will struggle to keep their star players at St Mary’s as Virgil van Dijk, Ryan Bertrand, Cedric Soares and Dusan Tadic could all leave, with the Serbian playmaker clearly unhappy at the treatment from head coach Claude Puel. It was the attacking midfielder who missed a last-gasp penalty in the goalless draw against Hull City, and he will be looking to put himself in the shop window with a good performance at Anfield.
There have been no fresh injury worries for Claude Puel, but Charlie Austin, Virgil van Dijk, Matt Targett, Sam McQueen and Alex McCarthy remain in the infirmary.
Key Factors to Consider
- Liverpool won 6 of last 9 fixtures (D2 L1)
- Both teams scored in eight of their last ten matches
- Southampton won three of last four meetings with the Reds (D1)
- Their last three meetings produced just two goals
- Saints were soundly beaten by Man City and Chelsea last month
Liverpool have done fairly well of late and with Philippe Coutinho back to the side, they can be trusted to record a win that will all but secure a top 4 finish. Southampton, on the other hand, have been utterly disappointing of late and they are also missing several important footballers.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 5/8
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