Liverpool look poised to break the curse of the international break
Last updated: November 17, 2017 by Leon Marshal
|Coverage:||BBC Radio 5Live|
|Home Team Form:||DDLWW|
|Away Team Form:||LDWDL|
|Last Meeting:||Liverpool 0 – 0 S’ton|
Its been nearly two years since Liverpool thrashed Southampton 6-1. In their subsequent five meetings, Liverpool haven’t registered a single win against the Saints. As if to atone for the brilliance of that game (and the three-two thriller after that) the last four meetings have been especially dull, with only two goals between them. Another cause for concern might be the international break – with many Liverpool players looking to recover after two back-to-back games. Southampton can also take pleasure in the fact that Liverpool have only won five out of their past eighteen games after the international break has been concluded. But this will still mean a vast improvement on recent form.
Southampton are in need of a new identity. With most of their best players leeched by other clubs – including, of course, Mané and Lallana going to Liverpool – they have struggled this season, with just three wins. Pellegrino’s preferred style of juego posicional (positional play) could work to their success, as long as they don’t get caught behind the ball and concede breakaway Liverpool goals. The main thing to focus on is the defence, containing players such as Salah (who scored two against West Ham before the break) and slowing down the place of the game. Nonetheless, this will also require star man Gabbiadini to step up and improve on his form – with only three goals so far this season. The way things have been going for the Saints, if they do win, it won’t be by many.
Liverpool, on the other hand, need to forget about the numbers I referred to above and improve on the positives from their last three games. Convincing three-goal-margin wins against three varied sides shows off a team that can easily destroy dysfunctional clubs. But their shark approach – smelling blood and breathlessly running towards a target – only works against smaller sides, and is disastrous against heavyweights like Tottenham and Manchester City. The question Southampton have to ask themselves is: Are they a big club, and if so, do they have what it takes to act like one this weekend? If they don’t step up we could possibly be in for a repeat of that 6-1 extravaganza.
Pellegrino has dispelled concerns over Virgil van Dijk, stating that: “I don’t think it will be difficult because Virgil knows he is focused 100 percent on our team and is training well”
Pellegrino has also been rather philosophical ahead of this weekend’s game, telling the media: “the big risk in football is to work in football. It’s like the biggest risk is to be alive, no? When you’re on the motorway, you are taking a big risk.”
Liverpool have been handed a massive injury boost, with Lallana, Mané and Henderson all on track to return this weekend.
Great footballer, somewhat confused pundit, Michael Owen, has thrown his two cents into the title race debate, coming up with the salient point that, “there’s a lot of football to be played.”
|Liverpool (4-3-3):||Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Coutinho; Salah, Sturridge, Firmino|
|Subs:||Karius, Milner, Lovren, Can, Robertson, Solanke, Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|Injured:||Ward, Clyne, Bogdan|
|Doubtful:||Lallana, Mané, Henderson|
|S’ton (4-2-3-1):||Forster; Betrtrand, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Cedric; Davis, Romeu; Clasie, Tadic, Redmond; Gabbadiani|
|Subs:||Gardos, Reed, Boufal, Højbjerg, Taylor, McQueen, Sims|
So Far This Season
|Liverpool So Far This Season||Southampton So Far This Season|
|5 (2)||Wins (away)||3 (1)|
|4 – 0 vs Arsenal||Biggest Win||3 – 2 vs West Ham|
|4 (2)||Draws (away)||2 (2)|
|0 – 5 vs Man City||Biggest Defeat||0 – 2 vs Watford|
|Mohamed Salah (7)||Top Goal Scorer||Manolo Gabbiadini (3)|
|Y14, R1||Discipline||Y10, R0|
|2||Failures to Score||4|
|55%||Both Teams to Score Games||36%|
|64%||Over 2.5 Goals||27%|
|36%||Under 2.5 Goals||73%|
- Liverpool and Southampton are particularly mismatched when it comes to goals. While Liverpool have over 2.5 goals 64% of the time, Southampton achieve that same feat only 27% of the time.
- Salah is already being compared to Suarez for his brilliance this season, racking up 7 goals in the league so far.
- Southampton have yet to beat a team by more than two goals so far this season. Liverpool have managed it three times
- Liverpool might be eight places above Southampton but there’s only six points between them. A win for Southampton should get them into the top ten.
Head to Head
|Last Five Competitive Meetings Between The Sides|
|Date||Game Result||Round||First Goal-scorer|
|07/05/2017||Liverpool 0 – 0 Southampton||Premier League||—|
|25/01/2017||Liverpool 0 – 1 Southampton||League Cup||Long 90′|
|11/01/2017||Southampton 1 – 0 Liverpool||League Cup||Redmond 20′|
|19/11/2016||Southampton 0 – 0 Liverpool||Premier League||—|
|20/03/2016||Southampton 3 – 2 Liverpool||Premier League||Coutinho 17′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Liverpool are by far the favourites, with small odds of 2/5 for the win at William Hill, with Southampton outsiders at around 13/2. Still we think Liverpool to win and over 2.5 goals is a great idea, and relatively safe, at 10/11.