Winless in four games, Southampton will have a difficult challenge when they take on the reigning champions Liverpool at St. Mary’s Stadium on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Liverpool will be keen to extend their winning streak over the Saints, emerging victorious in each of their last six Premier League meetings.
The Saints, on the other hand, will be looking for their first win over the Merseyside Reds since January 2017, when Claude Puel’s Southampton managed to beat Jurgen Klopp’s side twice (1-0 in both legs) in the League Cup semi-finals.
Since their back-to-back wins over Liverpool in 2013, Southampton have won only one of their last 13 Premier League matches against the Merseysiders, who on their turn have won nine times over the period and are unbeaten in their last nine League encounters (6-2-0).
Southampton Betting Preview
Currently ninth in the Premier League table, Southampton have slowed down their momentum as they come off back-to-back goalless draws with Fulham and West Ham United.
Even though the Saints were unable to return to winning ways against the Hammers, Tuesday’s draw against West Ham United means only the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have won more points in the Premier League than Southampton themselves in 2020.
Besides, Southampton’s boss Ralph Hasenhuttl wasn’t able to lead his side last time out as he was self-isolating since a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus and it remains to be seen whether the Austrian will be in the dugout against Liverpool, though latest reports suggest that his period of self-isolation will end before the game.
Failing to score in three games, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have struggled without their top goalscorer Danny Ings. However, Ings himself returned into the starting side against West Ham United on Tuesday and the England forward, who will face a serious competition should he wants to be included in England’s group for the rescheduled European Championship, will hope to reignite his scoring form against his former club.
Oriol Romeu also returned to action following suspension as he had to miss out the goalless draw at Fulham on Boxing Day, but key defender Jannik Vestergaard is set to miss out again and Nathan Redmond is a doubt.
All in all, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have lost only one of their past 13 Premier League away games (winning six), and are unbeaten in their last seven on the road since a narrow defeat at Crystal Palace on the opening weekend of the season. However, unlike their away form, Southampton have won just once in their last four Premier League home games – a 3-0 win over rock-bottom Sheffield United – and have lost to two other title contenders – both Manchester giants.
Scottish midfielder Stuart Armstrong, who started in 12 of Southampton’s 16 Premier League games this season, has just signed a new three-and-a-half year contract extension with the South club and could be an option if Hasenhuttl wants to reshuffle his midfield.
Liverpool Betting Preview
The champions failed to build on their pre-Christmas form as the Reds disappointed with back-to-back draws over Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion.
Coming off another frustrating result and a missed opportunity to claim the three points from their visit to the North East, Jurgen Klopp’s side will be keen to return to winning ways when they travel to the south coast on Monday.
Even though they remain unbeaten in 12 Premier League games – since the humiliating 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa on 4 October – Liverpool have won only three of their last seven Premier League games and have disappointingly dropped points in their matches against an inconsistent Newcastle United side, as well as against three of the bottom four – Brighton, Fulham and West Brom.
Liverpool remain top favorites to earn back-to-back titles for the first time since 1984, but their inconsistency away from Anfield is a recurring issue and something they really need to improve. Indeed, whereas Liverpool are enjoying a long-lasting home superiority in domestic games and have won seven of their eight home games in the English top-flight this season, Jurgen Klopp’s men have won just two in eight away games.
Jürgen Klopp expects his experienced centre-back Joel Matip to be out of action for around three weeks as the Cameroon international sustained an adductor strain during last weekend’s disappointing home draw against Sam Allardyce’s West Bromwich Albion side and subsequently missed the midweek trip to Newcastle United.
Following a performance lacking sharpness at St James’ Park, Jurgen Klopp will have to react and freshen things up in some areas, particularly in the middle of the park.
Georginio Wijnaldum is set to return to the starting side after being rested against his former club, while summer signing Thiago Alcantara marked his long-awaited comeback after more than two months out with a knee injury. However, Klopp won’t be rushing anyone of his players and Thiago, whose passing ability is much-needed right now, could be an option from the bench, while fellow midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri could get a longer run out at Southampton.
Meanwhile, considering Matip’s new injury setback, Nat Phillips could keep his place alongside Fabinho at centre-back, but youngster Rhys Williams is in contention to get the nod over Phillips.
Since he joined Liverpool, Mohamed Salah could boast seven goals in six Premier League appearances against Southampton, including a brace for Liverpool’s 4-0 victory in their most recent encounter on 1 February 2020. However, after an impressive scoring streak earlier in December, when he scored in five successive games, the Egyptian failed to make a difference in the last two matches.
Jürgen Klopp has revealed that influential defender Virgil van Dijk is making encouraging progress in his recovery from a nasty knee injury but still has ‘a long way to go’ in his rehabilitation.
In addition to the two mentioned centre-backs Joel Matip and VVD, fellow defender Joe Gomez, as well as the likes of Konstantinos Tsimikas, Naby Keita and Diogo Jota are also sidelined for the Reds.
Possible Starting Lineups of Southampton and Liverpool
Southampton: Alex McCarthy – Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens, Ryan Bertrand – Theo Walcott, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Moussa Djenepo – Che Adams, Danny Ings. (4-4-2)
Liverpool: Alisson – Andy Robertson, Rhys Williams, Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah. (4-3-3)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
Ralph Hasenhuttl will challenge his German counterpart as “the Alpine Klopp” managed to shape a very stable side that can be a tough nut to crack.
The Saints have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven home games in the Premier League (except the defeats to Manchester United and Man City) so Liverpool will have to work harder and be more creative to break their defense here.
Besides, arch rivals Manchester United have just levelled Liverpool on top of the Premier League table and we believe that Jurgen Klopp’s side should be even more inspired and fired up to conquer St. Mary’s Stadium on Monday.
Spooky Express Free Play: Liverpool -154 @ BetOnline for 8/10 Units