Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Prediction: Southampton vs Liverpool

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 16 Aug 2019

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Verdict: Sadio Mane to score

Best odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

Having won the UEFA Super Cup by beating Chelsea on penalties on Wednesday, Champions League holders Liverpool travel to the south coast of England to take on Southampton at St Mary’s.

There is always a slight kick to a game between these two teams, regardless of the obvious difference in quality. It’s merely due to the fact that in the last five years, six players have left St Mary’s for Anfield: Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Nathaniel Clyne, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk. Meanwhile, following a season-long loan spell at Southampton, Danny Ings went permanently the other way this summer.

Southampton

The Saints couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, arguably. They were beaten by 3-0 away to Burnley in the opening round, with their defence looking non-existent throughout the 90 minutes. Manager Ralf Hasenhuttl will certainly be hoping they pick up their performance when they face one of the most dangerous attacking lines in Europe on Saturday afternoon.

They will, on the other hand, be playing with minimum pressure on their shoulders; nobody will hold it against them if they lose, so unlike in the previous round, they only stand to gain should they manage to snatch something to put to their name.

Team News

Captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has recovered from illness, and Hasenhuttl should have his full squad ready. Newcomers Kevin Danso and Moussa Djenepo might make their debuts in this game.

Liverpool

Flying high at the moment, Liverpool will fancy their chances of taking the whole prize home. They won the Champions League in June, and they’ve now topped it off with the UEFA Super Cup – all having finished second in the Premier League on incredible 97 points. They have shown two different sides to their game against Chelsea, but with all due respect, Southampton are a different proposition to the Europa League holders.

Jurgen Klopp and his men are surely aiming to do one better than last season in the league, but in order to do it, they must win games like these. Therefore, they will likely push forward really hard and try to beat the hosts into submission as early as possible.

Team News

Klopp has a few big injury issues at the moment, and that may be the only thing hampering his team’s efforts. First-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker hobbled off against Norwich to be replaced by newcomer Adrian, who suffered an injury himself in a freaky way. He was tackled to the ground by a fan during the post-match celebrations on Wednesday. He may yet be fit in time – Klopp has pronounced him a doubt, refusing to rule him out completely. If he’s out, 35-year-old Andy Lonergan, who joined the club on a short-term contract to combat the crisis, may make an appearance.

On the other hand, together with Alisson, midfielder Naby Keita is definitely out with a hip muscle problem.

Centre-back Dejan Lovren, who was a subject of negotiations between Liverpool and AS Roma this week and was left out of the squad against Chelsea, may return to contention as Liverpool cancelled the talks.

Conclusion

Despite these issues, Liverpool should have enough fuel in the tank to see the Saints off without major problems. Sadio Mane, who joint-won the Premier League Golden Boot last season and scored twice on Wednesday, might just be the man to tear his former club apart.

Verdict: Sadio Mane to score

Best odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

 

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 four different football blogs.

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