Saturday, July 2, 2022

Prediction: Southampton vs Liverpool

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 16 May 2022

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Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

Southampton face the tough task of trying to stop Liverpool from keeping the Premier League title race alive until the final day of the season. The two teams will meet on Tuesday evening at St. Mary’s, and they will be approaching the clash arguably with different levels of motivation.

Southampton

The Saints are a very decent side under Ralph Hasenhuttl once more, and they’re not likely to allow themselves to get walked over by anyone. League leaders Manchester City will know all about that, having failed to beat them twice this term. However, a lack of consistency throughout the season has cost them when it comes to their position in the table, and at the moment, they are 15th with 40 points, completely safe from relegation and with very little but pride to play for. They could, in theory, climb up to 12th, but that would be long stretch indeed, requiring Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Newcastle to lose both their remaining matches and themselves to beat both Liverpool and Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

Southampton’s recent form doesn’t look very promising. Their last-six run starts with a 0-6 thrashing at home at the hands of Chelsea. Then they surprised Arsenal with a 1-0 win at home, lost 2-0 away to Burnley, drew 2-2 away to Brighton and Hove Albion, lost 1-2 at home to Crystal Palace, and got smashed 3-0 away to Brentford.

They were 2-0 down at the Brentford Community Stadium within 14 minutes, and Kristoffer Ajer added the third for the Bees in the 79th.

Nonetheless, they will be feeling the support coming from the stands of the stadium against Liverpool, the club that in recent years took a number of their best players, and they’ll know that they’re being cheered on by the blue side of Manchester as well.

Team News

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster and midfielder Stuart Armstrong are doubts for this clash, but they haven’t been ruled out yet with Hasenhuttl reportedly hopeful of having them at his disposal.

Ibrahima Diallo started the match against Brentford, but the experience of Oriol Romeu will surely be needed instead against an opponent of this much quality, alongside captain James Ward-Prowse. Che Adams is also likely to return to the starting lineup, displacing Adam Armstrong upfront.

Liverpool

There is, of course, a lot to be said about Liverpool at the moment. The Merseysiders have now completed the cup double in English football, having beaten Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on penalties and repeating the feat in the exact same manner in the FA Cup a few days ago. And if their supporters thought the second trophy of the season was going to be their only talking point of the weekend, they will have saluted Manchester City’s failure to beat West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday as well.

Be that as it may, Liverpool are still in second place, four points behind City but with a game in hand, and if they win here, the Premier League title will be decided on Sunday when they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield, while City face Aston Villa and need to deal with a few men with strong Liverpool connections – Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings, and of course, manager Steven Gerrard.

Liverpool also need to prepare for the Champions League final on May 28th in which they face Real Madrid in Paris, but for the time being, they’ll surely push it far at the back of their minds. It’s all about the task at hand, getting the three points at St. Mary’s any way they can and doing it again on Sunday. They’ve already come closer than any team ever before to winning the fabled ‘quadruple’, and if they manage to win the Premier League at the end of the week – let’s be clear, they’ll need plenty of luck for that to happen – Real Madrid will need to be extra careful in Paris. The prospect of doing what no-one has ever done before is a powerful motive, without even going into Liverpool’s desire to pay the Spanish giants back for what happened four years ago in Kyiv.

Liverpool’s last six matches include wins over Villarreal in both legs of the Champions League semifinals, 2-0 at Anfield and 2-3 at La Ceramica, with a 0-1 win away to Newcastle in between. Then came a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Tottenham Hotspur, a 1-2 win away to Aston Villa, and the FA Cup final against Chelsea in which they took the trophy after 120 goalless minutes and a penalty shootout.

Team News

Klopp won’t be able to call upon Fabinho to shield the back four, and the likeliest man to do that job instead is captain Jordan Henderson. Mohamed Salah left the FA Cup final after 30 minutes with a groin issue, left-back Andy Robertson was later replaced through cramp, and the manager also withdrew centre-back Virgil van Dijk as a precaution after the 90 minutes were up.

If Van Dijk doesn’t start, it’ll surely be the duo of Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate in the heart of defence. The obvious replacement for Robertson would be one of the heroes of the shootout on Saturday, Kostas Tsimikas, while either Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino will replace Salah upfront if need be. Klopp could also decide to rest Thiago Alcantara and give this game to James Milner, and the same can be said of Trent Alexander-Arnold with Joe Gomez ready to step in, but now we’ve entered the realms of speculation. Let’s wait and see.

Conclusion

Liverpool will surely hit hard from the start, keen to close the gap and take the race down to the wire. Southampton will be hard pressed to protect their net from being hit, and they’re not too likely to succeed. There should be plenty of chances and plenty of goals here.

Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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