MATCH PREVIEW; SOUTHAMPTON VS LIVERPOOL
MATCH PREVIEW; SOUTHAMPTON VS LIVERPOOL
The Reds could go back to the top of the league by Friday night: as they take on Southampton at the Saint Mary Stadium in their 33rd fixture of the season. Currently 1 point behind Manchester City, a win will see them go into the next round of UCL fixtures at the summit of the PL. Southampton, who are five points clear of the relegation places with two spots already taken by Huddersfield and Fulham will be looking to share the spoils. They are level with Brighton and Burnley on 33 points, and will be hoping to make an early break away from their rivals. The Saints have won three of their past four league matches and that has made Klopp wary ahead of the trip to St Mary’s.
“I have to say the job he [Ralph Hasenhuttl] is doing there is incredible. He brought young players in, academy players, a pretty brave decision,” said Klopp.
“It’s a really good side and the analysis was really interesting because it doesn’t look like a team that fights to stay in the league. “The games they lost, they were unlucky rather than playing bad, I would say. I think they are eighth in the form table, last 15 games at least, so that means they are fighting for the league and that gives you good information about the intensity of the game probably. “The games they lost, they were unlucky rather than playing bad, I would say. I think they are eighth in the form table, last 15 games at least, so that means they are fighting for the league and that gives you good information about the intensity of the game probably.”
MATCH FACTS /STATS
Southampton are winless in their last five Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D2 L3), failing to score each time.
Liverpool have won their last three Premier League games against Southampton – they’ve never won four in a row against Saints in their league history.
Southampton have won five of their 10 Premier League games against Liverpool at St Mary’s – they’ve only beaten Everton more often at the ground in the competition (6).
This will be Southampton’s first top-flight home game on a Friday since December 1991 (1-1 vs Notts County) with all five of their such games in the Premier League coming away from home (W1 D2 L2).
Liverpool have won five of their last six Premier League games on a Friday (D1) since a 2-4 loss at Arsenal in April 2004.
Southampton are looking to win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since May 2016 (a run of four).
Liverpool have conceded just nine goals in 16 away league games this season, the joint-fewest along with Man City. In fact, they’ve only shipped more than once on one occasion on the road this season, in what was their only league defeat so far in 2018-19 (1-2 vs Man City).
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Southampton, netting four goals in total.
Mohamed Salah hasn’t scored in any of his last eight appearances in all competitions for Liverpool – his longest run without a goal since a run of 10 games with Roma between November 2015 and January 2016.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp won the only previous meeting between him and Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhüttl, with Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund beating VfR Aalen 4-1 in a German Cup match in October 2012.
Defensively, the Reds have struggled a little in recent weeks. Indeed, the men from Merseyside have conceded in four successive matches, having previously kept five consecutive clean sheets.
Meanwhile, the home side have scored in all but two of their 17 matches since Hasenhuttl’s took up the reins and will hope that cutting edge could see them upset the odds.
Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are back in full training but are unlikely to be included yet.
Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk has been passed fit to face his former club. The centre-back sustained a knock to his ankle in the 2-1 win over Tottenham but has trained this week without any issues.
Shane Long and Jannik Vestergaard could return for Southampton after missing last week’s win over Brighton with groin problems but both are back in training.
Danny Ings cannot play against his parent club while Mario Lemina and Michael Obafemi are still injured.
AND THE WINNER IS…
The Reds have enough to win this. Playing against teams in and around the relegation zone is always tricky and Southampton have been playing some of their best football this season under Ralph. However, the Reds resilience has been interesting to watch, and will carry them over the line. 1-3 to Jürgen’s Reds.
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