Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Southampton away is a potential banana skin for Liverpool

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 10 Feb 2018

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Liverpool are the sort of team that tends to shine in the biggest games. The Reds were the first Premier League team to beat Manchester City and have regularly beaten the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League in recent years.

If Liverpool played a top-six rival every week, the Merseysiders would have a far better chance of winning the Premier League title. However, they do not and the Reds have a tendency to slip up against so-called inferior sides.

This weekend is a test of that theory, as Jurgen Klopp’s side visit struggling Southampton. They should record a comfortable win.

Liverpool slip up against strange teams

Klopp’s side are no doubt fantastic to watch, they score buckets loads of goals, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane unstoppable at times. However, in recent weeks, Klopp’s side have lost against Swansea and West Brom, both teams in the relegation battle.

Both defeats were inexplicable. However, it was typical of Liverpool in recent seasons. In many ways, they were stereotypical Reds defeats. They tend to shot themselves in the foot against the most unlikely opponents.

Maybe it is a touch of complacency or the fact that they switch off, which they tend to do in big games too. However, it is a bad habit and it has cost the Reds dearly in recent seasons.

Southampton are showing signs of life

Southampton fans have not had much to shout about in recent months. Their team failed to win in 12 league games until last weekend when bottom club West Brom rather generously allowed the Saints to leave the Hawthorns with a 3-2 victory. The win means they are still just two points outside the relegation zone.

The signs of improvement for Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have been there in recent weeks, as the team from the south coast had drawn their three previous games prior to their winning trip to the Midlands.

A winless run of six league games at St Marys is concerning. However, four of those six games have at least produced draws. The team’s performances have improved slightly in recent weeks.

I cannot see the Saints suffering relegation. The south coast team has enough quality to move away from that bottom three. No team is too good to go down. However, they just need to rediscover their confidence. The win over West Brom may just help restore some belief in the Southampton side.

The Saints are improving and they could prove to be dangerous opponents for Jurgen Klopp’s side who have looked very vulnerable at the back of late and do give their opponents chances to score goals.

The addition of Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk for £75million in the January transfer window seems to have done very little to shore things up in that Reds defence. The Dutchman is sure to get a hostile reception on his return to St Marys.

Liverpool are the favourites

There is no doubt that on current form Liverpool should win this game. However, football is a funny old game. The Reds are 4/5 favourites to record a victory in this clash.

Everything seems to favour an away win, especially as Liverpool have claimed six victories from their last eight games on the road in the league. However, something tells me that the game may not be an easy one for the Merseysiders.

I may be completely utterly wrong. The Reds may turn up and record a comfortable victory and it could be a routine victory. My gut feeling suggests it will not be a comfortable afternoon for Jurgen Klopp’s side and Southampton could give the visitors major problems.

Will Liverpool enjoy a comfortable win over Southampton?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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