Liverpool vs. Southampton
Saturday, May 8, 2021 – 8.15pm (BST)
Premier League (34)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Last season, the prospect of not seeing the Reds in action for a fortnight felt like torture – now it almost feels like a blessing.
It has been two weeks since Klopp’s men ruined our weekends with that insipid showing against Newcastle, with Joe Willock’s stoppage-time equaliser a microcosm of Liverpool’s season.
Now Saints head to Anfield looking to be the latest mediocre team to heap home misery on the Premier League champions, but they have experienced struggles of their own in 2020/21.
Having topped the table back in November, their form has nosedived in the six months since, have to settle for 15th place currently.
Like Liverpool, injuries have hampered them, and the ‘Alpine Klopp’ Ralph Hasenhuttl finds himself battling to save his job.
This might be a game that neutrals avoid, which is a sad indictment of what’s happened to Liverpool since sealing title glory last summer.
Klopp doesn’t have any new injury problems to worry about, which has been a depressingly rare occurrence this season.
That would allow Fabinho to go back into midfield, with Liverpool such a different team when the Brazilian is in his strongest role.
Jota was dropped from the starting lineup that was due to face United, so it will be interesting to see if the manager sticks to that.
Possible Southampton XI: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Stephens; Armstrong, Tella, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Djenepo, Adams
Last 5 at Home to Southampton (All Competitions)
Won 4-0 – February 2020 (Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Salah x2)
Won 3-0 – September 2018 (Hoedt OG, Matip, Salah)
Won 3-0 – November 2017 (Salah x2, Coutinho)
Drew 0-0 – May 2017
Lost 1-0 – January 2017 (Long)
Did You Know?
Liverpool may have had a host of players under-performing this season, but Salah has surely been the Reds’ Player of the Year.
While the 28-year-old hasn’t been completely blameless, in terms of wasteful finishing, his tally of 29 goals in 46 matches is outstanding.
To put that into perspective, Salah only scored 23 in 48 appearances in the whole of Liverpool’s title-winning season – there are still four matches to play this time around.
Few players in the club’s history have been more underrated than the Egyptian King, in terms of some Reds fans, rival supporters and the watching media.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Southampton – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp stressed the importance of being “unpredictable” against Southampton:
“You have to be from time to time unpredictable, that’s really important.
“You have to be cheeky as well, that’s really important, brave.
“You have to be ready for their counter-press, if they lose the ball they go with all they have to win it back.
“We know how that works, we try to do that ourselves from time to time, but there is no perfect thing in football.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool vs. Southampton is an 8.15pm kickoff and is live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports
Henry Jackson is in charge of This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog from 7.30pm, aiming to keep you entertained in nice, biased fashion here.