Liverpool know they must beat Southampton to keep their Premier League title dream alive, with a much-changed team having to dig deep at St Mary’s.
Southampton vs. Liverpool
Premier League (37) | St Mary’s
Saturday, May 17, 2022 | 7.45pm
The Reds sealed FA Cup glory on Saturday evening, before West Ham did them a favour by drawing 2-2 at home to Man City the following day.
It leaves Jurgen Klopp‘s men four points adrift of the league leaders with a game in hand, and only a win will do against Southampton on Tuesday night.
Here are 10 things to know ahead of the match.
1. Southampton’s hit-and-miss season
Southampton have become one of the Premier League‘s more unpredictable teams, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s outfit capable of both the sublime and the ridiculous.
Let’s not forget they’ve lost two games 9-0 in recent years!
They currently sit 15th and are not completely clear of danger, having only won one of their last 10 league outings dating back to February.
Saints did draw 1-1 at home to City back in January, though, which should act as a word of warning to Liverpool.
2. Possible Saints XI
Southampton have been afforded the luxury of not playing since their 3-0 defeat away to Brentford on May 7, meaning they will be well-rested.
That could see Hasenhuttl name a similar team that which lost in west London, as he looks for a response from his players.
James Ward-Prowse is certainly a player to watch, having scored nine goals and registered five assists in the league, while Che Adams could come back in for Adam Armstrong.
Young right-back Valentino Livramento is a long-term absentee, while there are doubts over both Fraser Forster and Stuart Armstrong.
Predicted Saints XI: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Redmond; Adams, Broja
3. Who’s out for Liverpool?
Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk both limped out of the FA Cup triumph over Chelsea and they will be ruled out of Tuesday’s game.
They are being handled extremely carefully ahead of the Champions League final, with the pair arguably Liverpool’s two most important players.
Meanwhile, Andy Robertson struggled with cramp at Wembley but should be available, and Fabinho is still sidelined with a hamstring issue, despite doing “very well” in his recovery according to Klopp.
4. Predicted Liverpool lineup
It would be a surprise if Klopp didn’t ring the changes at St Mary’s, even though victory is still imperative.
Joel Matip is expected to start in place of the absent Van Dijk, while Wembley hero Kostas Tsimikas could come in ahead of Robertson.
The likes of Curtis Jones and James Milner will be eyeing starts in midfield – Thiago could arguably do with a breather – and Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino could battle to replace Salah.
Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Tsimikas; Henderson, Milner, Jones; Diaz, Jota, Firmino
5. Klopp wary of Saints threat
Speaking in his press conference on Monday, Klopp made it clear that he expects Hasenhuttl’s team to cause the Reds problems:
“They are completely fresh. Southampton are always a really well-drilled team.
“This is their last home game of the season. They want to leave an impression before their summer holiday. They have high energy, it’s a huge challenge, especially after 120 minutes.”
It certainly has the potential to be a sticky one for Liverpool, but time and time again their remarkable mentality comes to the fore.
6. Boss nails thoughts on booing
Klopp also gave the perfect riposte to criticism of Liverpool fans booing the national anthem on Saturday:
“Our people wouldn’t do it if there was no reason. It is something historical.
“The majority of our support are wonderful people. Really smart, go through lows and highs. They wouldn’t do it without reason.”
7. Liverpool’s record at St Mary’s
It’s fair to say that St Mary’s hasn’t been Liverpool’s happiest hunting ground, with mixed results there in recent years.
A lobbed Danny Ings strike separated the two sides last season, during those painful behind-closed-doors times, but the Reds won 2-1 during the title-winning 2019/20 campaign.
Before that, Klopp’s men picked up successive wins in 2017/18 and 2018/19 – who else remembers Salah’s breakaway strike in the latter? – while Van Dijk helped the Saints draw 0-0 in 2016/17.
8. Did you know?
Liverpool are on 86 points with two matches remaining this season, as this incredible team aim to finish in the 90s yet again.
In fact, their current tally means that they have a higher amount of points than Man United finished with in seven of their Premier League title triumphs.
That feels cruel, with Klopp’s men surely dominating any other era than this current one.
9. Atkinson in charge
Martin Atkinson will referee Liverpool’s final away game of the season, while Stuart Atwell is on VAR duty at St Mary’s.
This will be Atkinson’s third Reds league game of the campaign, having already overseen the 1-0 win at Burnley and 4-0 thrashing of Man United at Anfield last month.
He also refereed the wins over Norwich and Arsenal in the FA Cup and League Cup, respectively, so he has been a lucky omen so far this season.
10. Follow the action with TIA
Southampton vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm (BST), with kickoff at 7.45pm.
Alternatively, TIA’s matchday live will be running from 7pm – Dan Clubbe is in the hot seat, hopefully guiding you through yet another win.
Come on you Reds!