Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 6/5
Fortnight will have felt like an eternity for Liverpool fans who are relishing a chance to greet their team following an international break Reds spent sitting top of the Premier League. Comfortably situated in the middle of the standings, Southampton are playing host to the in-form league leaders hoping to surprise the m and make a step closer to the top half of the table.
International break came in just the right time for Claude Puel’s men who are coming off from back-to-back Premier League defeats to Chelsea and Hull City, respectively. The Saints managed to sandwich a 2-1 Europa League triumph over Inter in between the two losses and will be relishing a chance to lock horns with league leaders to try and grab the much needed three points which would also be a huge morale boost for the mid-table dwellers. The 2016-17 season was a frustrating ride so far, a turbulent one as well for Southampton, who have more defeats than triumphs to their name. The Saints have over the last couple of years become a respectable side, thriving in the challenging surroundings of the English top tier despite selling their most prizes assets season in and season out. Having sold more than £185 million worth of players, and losing two managers and a chief executive in the past three years, the Saints remain in the top half of the Premier League, still challenging for the knockouts of the UEFA Europa League. The forthcoming challenge will be a demanding one however, as Southampton will have to overcome their poor stretch and a long list of unavailable players against a highly motivated rival.
Southampton’s key midfielder Dusan Tadic broke his nose during international duty and will most likely be out of the clash. Ryan Bertrand has picked up a knock, while Shane Long remains unavailable through a hamstring strain.
Harrison Reed, Jake Hesketh, Matt Targett and Jeremy Pied are the rest of the confirmed absentees, while there is a serious doubt over the availability of Florin Gardos, Fraser Forster, Alex McCarthy and Cedric Soares.
Eleven matches inside the new Premier League season and Liverpool find themselves at an unusual place. Top of the league has become an illusive dream from the Reds family over the last couple of years, but also a dream Jurgen Klopp and his free-flowing, attack-oriented side have done well enough to make real. They can’t afford to keep their hopes too high as history teaches them otherwise, but it has become almost impossible to stop the talk of a possible title push. Jurgen Klopp’s men have seemingly managed to establish consistency with their performances as they are coming off from a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions. The 2-0 Premier League defeat to Burnley back in August was the last set-back for the Reds, who went on to record some fairly impressive results ever since. Liverpool even managed to break a couple of records along the way, but the most important thing is that they have become a side to be reckoned with, a free-flowing and free-scoring side. Reds are conceding, but are compensating with plenty of goals up front though. With 30 goals to their names Liverpool remain a team with most scored goals in the Premier League. The team is functioning like a well-oiled machine with one player standing out though. Philippe Coutinho has been in impressive form of late, scoring five goals and managing as many assists in 11 games so far.
Liverpool’s little magician is going through a muscular injury that is likely to keep him out of contention for Saturday’s match. Adam Lallana is another first-team doubt as he is troubled by a groin strain picked up on international duty.
Mamadou Sakho, Joe Gomez, Oluwaseyi Ojo and Danny Ings complete the list of unavailable players for the visiting side.
Key Aspects to consider
- Southampton lost 3 of the last 5 home clashes with Liverpool
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 4 of the last five matches at St Marry’s
- The Reds scored the total of 30 goals in 11 Premier League matches
- Former Saints star Sadio Mane scored 6 goals for Liverpool so far
- Liverpool last lost the away game back in August
Southampton are keen to end the two-match losing streak, but their job will be made pretty hard against the in-form Premier League leaders Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side are enjoying a fantastic run of results which has deservedly put them in the driving seat of the Premier League and there is a good value in betting on the visiting side for the Saturday’s duel.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 6/5