Southampton vs. Liverpool: Premier League
Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, February 22nd – 16:15
Match Odds: Southampton 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – Liverpool 19/10
The Saints are currently clinging on to a top-four spot, one point ahead of Arsenal and three clear of Tottenham, while Liverpool are four points adrift in seventh place. A Liverpool win would close the gap on Southampton to just one point, so the stakes are extremely high.
We’ve been running out of superlatives to describe the performance by Ronald Koeman‘s side this season, but they have stuttered in recent weeks and rumblings are starting to grow over whether their bid to qualify for European football is beginning to derail.
This game represents the perfect opportunity to silence any doubters and should they pick up all three points, they will remain on track to secure the highly sought after top-four finish.
Southampton have only scored one goal in their last three games which represents their worst run of offensive form all season – they’ve also only conceded one goal in that time too, so low scoring affairs is a recent theme to their matches.
Southampton’s home record in the Premier League: Played 13 – Won 7 – Drawn 3 – Lost 3
Visitors Liverpool boast the best form in the league at the moment, picking up 20 points from their last eight games and have conceded just two goals in their last five outings.
Before Tottenham struck twice at Anfield in their most recent Premier League game, they were on a run of four consecutive clean sheets. The 3-2 victory against Spurs also helped extend Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the league to nine games having lost just one of the previous 13 matches (W8, D4).
One issue Brendan Rodgers must address is the fact that Liverpool have struggled to pick up points on the road against teams outside of the bottom six in the table, with their only away win over a side above 14th position coming in an early season 3-0 success at Tottenham. They have lost five and drawn one in the other fixtures against the top-14 clubs.
Liverpool’s away record in the Premier League: Played 12 – Won 6 – Drawn 1 – Lost 5
The Saints will be without the suspended Ryan Bertrand, as well as the still injured Emmanuel Makuya and Jay Rodriguez. Morgan Schneiderlin, Toby Alderweireld, Shane Long and Matt Targett are all expected to return to the Southampton squad, while Sam Gallagher could also be included following injury.
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard will almost certainly miss out with a hamstring injury, as will Lucas (groin), Brad Jones (thigh) and Jon Flanagan (knee).
A Daniel Sturridge winner ten minutes from time saw Liverpool edge the reverse fixture 2-1 at Anfield on the first day of the season and they’ll be hoping for a repeat result.
Southampton’s last five: W/W/L/W/D
Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/D/W
Key Stat: Liverpool have won away at Southampton twice out of their last eight attempts in the Premier League (D2, L4).
Key Player: Daniel Sturridge – his recent return from injury couldn’t have come at a better time for Liverpool and his goals in the run-in will be vital.
Score Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Liverpool – Current form could play a part and Liverpool will edge it.