Can Southampton Subdue the League Leaders?

Last updated: November 18, 2016 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 3.00pm
Venue: St Mary’s
Coverage: Talk Sport Radio
Home form: DWDLL
Away form: WDWWW
Last season: Southampton 3 – 2 Liverpool
Competition: The Premier League

In what could be one of the more interesting match ups of the weekend, Southampton host leaders Liverpool. The visitors are in illustrious form, which has seen them rise to the summit of the table, though could be without some key players. Southampton have maintained a steady pace and currently sit in mid table.

The biggest concern for the home side is undoubtedly the fitness of playmaker Dujan Tadic. The Serb was left bloodied after a strong challenge against Wales in a World Cup qualifer and is a doubt for this match. On the plus side, striker Charlie Austin is delivering the goods upfront, as Manager Claude Puel seems to have finally solved the team’s striker conundrum. Austin has 5 goals already after a limited number of starts and with Liverpool’s inability to keep a clean sheet widely known, the Saints may opt for an offensive approach to counteract that of the Reds.

Liverpool will be widely fancied for this fixture but things may not be as straight forward as they seem. Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho are essential to Klopp’s gegenpressing style – and Liverpool’s success this season – so the manager will be sweating on their availability. Lallana looks sure to miss out, while Coutinho has undergone a scan on his hamstring that the club states is precautionary. Neither has been ruled out as yet, but if both were to miss out, then Liverpool’s chances will surely be diminished. Such an outcome should give Daniel Sturridge a run out as he attempts to showcase his ability and return to the first team. Either way, this should be a fascinating, all out attacking affair. The other issue for the Reds will be fatigue. Most of their team racked up playing time over the international break and the effect of this on their style of play could be huge.

Team News

Southampton’s main concern will be the fitness of playmaker Dusan Tadic. The Serb suffered a facial injury while playing against Wales last Saturday.

The other notable concerns are goalkeeper Fraser Forster and fullback Ryan Bertrand. Both are doubtful for the match and will be a big loss in defence against an attacking Liverpool side.

The international break has been tough for Liverpool too. Midfielders Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho are both doubts for this enconter after picking up knocks in midweek.

Liverpool are full strength elsewhere however. Coutinho and Lallana’s absence could pave the way for Daniel Sturridge to start up front after bagging a goal in England’s recent World Cup qualifier.

Expected line-ups:

Southampton (4-2-3-1): Taylor, Yoshida, Fonte, van Dijk, Soares, Clasie, Romeu, Davis, Boufal, Austin, Redmond
Subs: Rodriguez, Martina, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Højbjerg, Forster, McQueen
Injured: McCarthy, Targett, Pied, Long
Doubtful: Tadic, Bertrand
Not available:
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can, Mané, Firmino, Sturridge
Subs: Klavan, Moreno, Mignolet, Origi, Ejaria, Lucas, Grujic
Injured: Ings, Sakho
Doubtful: Lallana, Coutinho
Not available:

So far this season

. . .
Southampton this season Liverpool this season
10th League Position 1st
2 (1) (at home) Wins (away) 4 (4)
3-0 vs. West Ham Biggest win 6-1 vs. Watford
2 (2) (at home) Draws (away) 1 (1)
0-2 vs. Chelsea Biggest Defeat 0-2 vs. Burnley
Charlie Austin (5) Top scorer Sadio Mané (6)
Dujan Tadic (2) Assist Leader Philippe Coutinho (5)
Y20, R0 Discipline Y18, R0
3 Failures to score 2
3 Clean Sheets 1
6 Both Teams to Score Games 9
8 Over 2.5 Games 7
7 Under 2.5 Games 3
  • A surprise loss in their last game against Hull means Southampton will go into this match without a win in their last 3 games.
  • Liverpool hammered Watford 6 – 1 in their last match to rise to the top of the league. The Reds are in irresistible form and will know that they likely must win to retain their spot at the top of the league.
  • The Saints don’t concede many goals however, with 7 of their 11 matches featuring under 2.5 goals. Liverpool are the top scorers in the league, but Southampton may fancy their chances if Liverpool are without Coutinho and Lallana.
  • Liverpool’s problems have been at the back and they have just 1 clean sheet to their name. Both teams to score seems likely, as both teams have failed to score in less than 30% of their games this season.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
20/03/2016 Premier League Southampton 3 – 2 Liverpool  Coutinho 17′
02/12/2015 League Cup Southampton 1 – 6 Liverpool Mané 1′
25/10/2015 Premier League Liverpool 1 – 1 Southampton Benteke 77′
22/02/2015 Premier League Southampton 0 – 2 Liverpool Coutinho 3′
17/08/2014 Premier League Liverpool 2 – 1 Southampton Sterling 23′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Much depends on Coutinho’s availability in our opinion and this is a difficult one to call without seeing the team sheets. Liverpool are in free scoring mode, but Southampton are notoriously tight at the back, especially at home, where they have only conceeded more than 1 goal once. Either way, Liverpool will play with their high pressing, attacking style and should break down the Saint’s defence eventually. Liverpool are practically unable to keep a clean sheet and this trend will likely continue, so both teams to score seems a good bet, though short of value.

However, we expect fatigue to play a big part in this game after most of the Liverpool attack featured extensively in internationals over the last few weeks. Their gegenpressing style could suffer and winning the match against a strong Saints outfit could prove difficult. I fancy this one to be a draw, which you can get at Ladbrokes at 5/2. If you want to take it a step further, a draw with both teams to score is 16/5