Liverpool vs. Southampton
Venue: Anfield Stadium
Kick off: 8:15PM
Liverpool will be looking to make up some lost ground and boost their chances of qualifying for the top four when they host Southampton in the Premier League this evening.
The Reds have won just one of their last five games in all competitions, drawing the last three in succession, and they face a Saints side who are looking to complete the league double against them for just the third time in their history, previously doing so in 1960-61 and 2003-04.
Liverpool’s hopes of winning their first game at Old Trafford since March 2014 were put on hold, as their Premier League clash against rivals Manchester United was postponed last weekend.
Hundreds of United supporters managed to break into the stadium to protest against the ownership of the Glazer family, just hours before the match was due to kickoff at 4:30pm on Sunday.
The demonstrators both in and outside Old Trafford delayed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players from leaving the Lowry Hotel where they were staying, and due to “safety” concerns, the game was eventually called off.
A free weekend for Liverpool has seen them slip seven points behind the top four, with Chelsea, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur all claiming three points. Their game against the Red Devils has now been rearranged to take place on May 13, five days after today’s encounter with Southampton.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have improved slightly in recent weeks as the Reds are currently on a six-game unbeaten run, their best spell of form in 2021.
However, disappointing draws in their last two league matches against Leeds United and Newcastle United – games in which they created a plethora of chances to win – has made their task of qualifying for the Champions League a much greater challenge.
Anfield will be the venue for today’s game against the Saints, a home once considered a fortress in years gone by.
However, Liverpool have claimed just six points from their last 30 available in the Premier League; this comes after they had only dropped 22 points from their previous 66 home games.
Nevertheless, the Reds are unbeaten in their last six home league matches against Southampton, winning the last three by an aggregate score of 10-0, which includes a 4-0 thrashing last season.
Liverpool have struggled against teams lower down in the table this campaign – winning just two of their 11 matches against sides currently in the bottom seven – but a victory tonight and a strong finish to the season could be enough for Klopp’s men to squeeze their way into the top four, to salvage something from what has been a frustrating title defence.
It would be fair to say that 2021 has also been a frustrating period for Southampton, who have lost 13 of their 18 Premier League matches since the turn of the year and have accumulated just 11 points, the fewest of any side in the division.
They have also conceded a league-high 40 goals since New Year’s day, including a header from Leicester City’s Jonny Evans who rescued a point for the Foxes in the 1-1 draw at St Mary’s last Friday, after James Ward-Prowse scored the opener from the penalty spot.
The miserable form of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side is one that you would expect from a team battling to avoid relegation, however the Saints are 10 points clear of the bottom three, with a game in hand on Fulham, who they face on home soil next weekend.
One positive Southampton have taken from this year has been the performance and result against Liverpool, when former Red Danny Ings scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at St Mary’s.
Since leaving Anfield in 2019, Ings has scored on two separate occasions against Liverpool, although the 28-year-old may not be able to add to this tally, as the striker – who has had another campaign marred by injury – could miss the rest of the season with a hamstring problem.
The Saints are not expected to be dragged into a late relegation scrap but one more victory would ensure their Premier League status for the 10th successive season.
Liverpool possible XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson, Thiago, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Southampton possible XI: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Salisu, Walcott, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Redmond, Adams.