Liverpool face another huge game on Friday night, as they look to return to the top of the Premier League with victory at Southampton.
Southampton vs. Liverpool
Friday, April 5, 2019 – 8pm (BST)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Jurgen Klopp‘s side picked up their most significant win of the season last weekend, beating Tottenham 2-1 in the dying minutes at Anfield.
But Man City‘s victory over Cardiff in midweek was completely inevitable and it leaves the Reds a point behind their title rivals.
While Pep Guardiola’s champions face FA Cup semi-final commitments on Saturday, Liverpool head to struggling Southampton the previous day.
On paper, it is a game Klopp’s men should win relatively comfortably, but the pressure is now immense and Saints have improved greatly under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Having looked set for a return to the Championship at one point, the ‘Austrian Klopp’ has guided them five points clear of danger, and they have now produced two wins in a row.
This will be a very different test to Spurs, but Saints will make life tough in their own right and Liverpool must be prepared for a battle.
This fixture last season: Southampton 0-2 Liverpool
Klopp has no new injury problems after the Spurs game, which is a wonderful position to be in at such a crucial point in the season.
There were concerns that the irreplaceable Virgil van Dijk had picked up a knock late on against Spurs, but he has recovered.
It could be argued that as many as 10 players pick themselves ahead of Friday’s clash.
Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Van Dijk and Andy Robertson are certain to start at the back, with the quintet a formidable unit.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino also walk into the side and Salah will be hoping to put an end to his eight-game run without a goal.
Fabinho‘s omission for the Spurs match was a baffling one, but his second-half cameo will surely have done enough to convince Klopp to start the Brazilian.
Gini Wijnaldum is not the player he was two months ago, but he should also start, meaning either Jordan Henderson or James Milner take the 11th remaining spot in the team.
Henderson feels the more likely to make way for Fabinho, following a disappointing performance on Sunday.
The likes of Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and recent go-to substitute Divock Origi will hope to make an impression from the bench.
Southampton are without Jannik Vestergaard, Mario Lemina and Michael Obafemi, while Shane Long is a doubt with a groin injury.
Danny Ings is ineligible due to the terms of his loan agreement.
Last 5 Away to Southampton (All Competitions)
Won 2-0 – February 2018 (Firmino, Salah)
Lost 1-0 – January 2017 (Redmond)
Drew 0-0 – November 2016
Lost 3-2 – March 2016 (Mane x2, Pelle; Coutinho, Sturridge)
Won 6-1 – December 2015 (Mane; Sturridge x2, Origi x3, Ibe)
St Mary’s Stadium
Away fans’ pubs: Yates—it’s about halfway between the station and the stadium.
One piece of advice for visiting fans: Get the train. The station is a 30-minute walk from the stadium and there are plenty of pubs on the way.
Answers courtesy of Richard Brereton (@RichardBrer).
Did You Know?
While Salah has toiled in his efforts to score his 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool, Firmino has been sneaking up behind him.
The Brazilian’s well-taken header in the win over Spurs took his tally for the Reds to 48 in the league, with Salah still stuck on 49.
Firmino has taken 134 matches to get to that figure, however, while Salah has got his total in just 68 appearances.
Once the Egyptian stops the rot, the goals will flow again.
Southampton – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 1-0 vs. Brighton
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Lost 3-2 vs. Man United
Won 2-0 vs. Fulham
Lost 2-0 vs. Arsenal
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 2-1 vs. Fulham
Won 3-1 vs. Bayern Munich
Won 4-2 vs. Burnley
Drew 0-0 vs. Everton
Speaking at Melwood on Wednesday, Klopp was full of praise for the job Hasenhuttl has done at St Mary’s:
“Ralph made a few really good decisions. I have to say the job he’s done since he’s there is incredible.
“He brought young players in, academy players, it’s good of course but on the other hand in the situation when he came in it’s pretty brave as well.
“So that’s a good side, a really good side. We know about that, analysis was really interesting because it doesn’t look like a team who fights for the league!
“They look confident, they do what they do and they stick to it, that’s good. Even the games they were rather more unlucky than they played bad, I would say.”
TV & Live Blog Info
Southampton vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm (BST), with kickoff at 8pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog from 7.15pm, on what could be a nerve-wracking evening on the south coast.
Come on you Reds!