With Manchester City expecting to breeze past Cardiff tonight, attention will once again turns to Liverpool in what is turning out to be a fascinating title race. Liverpool travel to St Mary’s with only six games left to go of the Premier League season to face relegation threatened Southampton. Victory for the Saints would see them eight points above the drop zone.
That being said, a victory for the Reds is imperative if they are to continue their title charge against the unrelenting force that is Manchester City.
Southampton shouldn’t be optimistic going into the game against Liverpool. The Saints haven’t scored in four games against Liverpool.
This, plus the fact that the Reds have still only lost one game all season, will give Virgil van Dijk and company all of the confidence they need to get a result on Friday.
Despite an injury scare, Jurgen Klopp confirmed “Virgil has trained normally” meaning Virgil van Dijk will be fit to face his former side on Friday.
Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both back in training yet they both seem a fair way from returning to first-team action. Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping to get his first Premier League minutes since his year-long injury absence by the end of the season.
Team selection will be the biggest discussion point heading into the game with Fabinho being left out of the starting line-up for the 2-1 win over Spurs.
Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri could also both play a part in the game, however both seem to have fallen out of favor with Jurgen Klopp as of late.
Adam Lallana is always an option, too.
As for Southampton, both Michael Obafemi and Jannick Vestergaard have both been ruled out of Friday’s clash.
Danny Ings is ineligible to play for the Saints as he is still technically on loan from Liverpool. Shane Long could make his return to the Southampton side in Ings’ place.
Liverpool: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho; Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah.
Southampton: Angus Gunn, Yan Valery, Jan Bednarek, Maya Yoshida, Ryan Bertrand; Pierre Højbjerg, Oriol Romeu, Stuart Armstrong, James Ward-Prowse; Shane Long, Nathan Redmond.
Liverpool have seemingly picked things up again after a small lull in results. Draws against West Ham and Leicester saw the Reds drop points but with wins in their last three games, Jurgen Klopp will be looking to push on and get the most out of his side down the stretch.
A 2-1 win over Spurs is the most recent result for the Reds and they will be looking to build upon that success at St Mary’s this Friday.
Southampton are enjoying one of their better spells of the season with three of their eight wins this season coming in their last six games.
Jurgen Klopp hailed Ralph Hasenhuttl in the pre-match press conference saying that he’s “doing an incredible job.”
He continued, “they don’t look like a team fighting to stay in the league.”
That being said, Southampton sit 16th in the Premier League with still a lot of work to do to get over the line to ensure safety in the Premier League.
What Klopp says…
“We didn’t adapt quickly enough to Spurs’ system change but that won’t happen again. It will be an interesting game on Friday night.”
On Salah: “People talk about how many games he hasn’t scored in but he doesn’t seem bothered. It’s about work rate, doing it again and again, and one day the ball will bounce in your direction. We have 79 points. You can’t have that if you have major problems in a season.”
“It was an own goal but it was Mo’s header which forced it. It felt like it was his goal. That Mo was in that situation was off the training ground with a cross from the second ball. I was really pleased when I watched it back.”
On VVD: “I can’t say a bad word about him, a brilliant boy. But he knows that you need the boys around you. Defending is team work.”
“He had to defend two players, close the passing way to the other player. If you can’t be active you have to give the other player the chance to make the mistake.”
What to expect…
Liverpool should have more than enough about them to see themselves through the challenge of Southampton but this is the Premier League. This is a tight title race. Anything could happen.
However, just because anything can, doesn’t mean anything will. Jurgen Klopp will put his entire focus on the Southampton game and Liverpool should get all three points.
We’re backing Mohamed Salah to score a brace and silence his critics with Liverpool winning out eventual 3-0 winners.
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