Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 1/2
Having lost their first home game after 370 days, Liverpool will be looking for a swift return to winning ways at Anfield as they prepare to welcome Southampton in the return tie of the EFL Cup semi-finals.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have been given a slap in the face at the weekend as they suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Swansea, who did enough to end Liverpool’s formidable home form. The latest defeat will be a huge set-back in Reds’ title pursue, but there will hardly be a better way for morale to get the much-needed boost than a win over Southampton and a place in the EFL Cup finals. Klopp is aware of the challenge though and knows that Reds will have to work hard to overcome the Saints and their 1-0 lead from the first leg. Heading into the midweek match, Jurgen Klopp’s men will need to improve their defensive exploits in the first place, having conceded six goals in last three matches in the league. The anticipation builds as the Reds head into the semi-final rematch looking to earn their chance of fighting for the first trophy in years and Jurgen Klopp is sure to instruct his men to give their best against the Premier League rivals.
Midfielder Marko Grujic is still suffering from a tendon injury and will not be in the contention for the Wednesday’s match. Danny Ings is still some way off from reaching full fitness, while Adam Bogdan is also ruled out through injury.
In addition, the teams’ key man Sadio Mane is still unavailable due to his ongoing duties at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Joel Matip returns to contention following a FIFA dispute.
The Saints ended the previous year with back-to-back defeats and opened their 2017 account with another slump, which put great deal of pressure of Claude Puel and his men. Southampton have since then managed to recover having lost only one in their last five games across competitions and the fact they are coming off from two successive wins over Norwich and Leicester respectively will provide the team with a valuable morale boost for the Anfield game. Claude Puel’s side managed to keep the clean sheets in their last two matches and defensive consolidation is something Saints will hold rather important against the attack-oriented Liverpool. Southampton recorded a win over Reds in the first leg courtesy of Nathaniel Redmond’s winner and they will be looking to preserve the lead and be the first team to secure their place in the finals.
Charlie Austin, Sofiane Boufal, Alex McCarthy, Matt Targett and Jeremy Pied are all stuck in the medical room due to their respective injuries and will not be able to help their team.
Steven Davies and Jake Hesketh are hoping to shake off their knock and ankle problem, respectively, to make themselves available for selection.
Key Factors to Consider
- Liverpool lost their first home game after 370 days
- The Reds conceded six goals in last 3 Premier League games
- Klopp’s men won only 1 of their last 6 matches in all competitions
- Saints lost just 1 of their own last 6 games across the competitions
- Southampton conceded only 1 goals in last 4 games
Liverpool are suffering from a dip in form, but Joel Matip’s return to the fold can provide Reds with a positive impulse. Jurgen Klopp will demand his players make a strong move towards grabbing their place in the final match of the EFL Cup competition as it would give them a chance to fight for the first trophy in a while.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 1/2
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