Anfield is etched in the history of Liverpool, a ground that many teams dream of playing at, yet their home form has been woeful over the past year. In 26 games the Reds have won only 8 times, drawing 12. They are currently 12th in the form guide (as shown above) and Southampton are actually in better form winning two out of their last four games.
Brendan Rodgers will be hoping to change their fortunes against Southampton this weekend, however The Reds have only scored 8 goals at home all season, equal to the amount Saints have found the net on the road. Although, Southampton have only 1 victory on their travels, a 3-1 win against QPR.
The Away side have been on a slight resurgence, unbeaten in their last 4, whilst Liverpool have only 1 win in six.
Before Southampton were relegated in 2005, they won 3 out of their last 4 meetings with Liverpool. One of those victories came at Anfield in a 2-1 victory.
The worrying statistics for all Liverpool fans is that they have recorded 3 victories all season, which is the same as Southampton and only scored 18 goals, whilst Saints have netted 21 times. Yes, Liverpool find themselves in 12th, but on paper they could easily be closer to their opponents.
Lucas Leiva is available for the first time since August after recovering from a thigh injury, which will be refreshing news for Rodgers, as the central areas have been missing a holding presence this season.
As shown below, Leiva was instrumental last season, in breaking up play and consistently working to win back the ball. Joe Allen is obviously a favourite of Rodgers, but his stats this season doesn’t compare to the Brazilian and he could definitely move further forward, still using his distribution qualities. It would also allow the fullbacks even more license to get forward, which would suit high-flying Jose Enrique. If this is implemented at the weekend, I worry for Southampton.
For Southampton, Nigel Adkins has hinted he could stick with era-prone goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga and defender Danny Fox returns after a knee problem.
Ones To Watch
The main problem Rodgers faces has been well documented, in his lack of striking options. Luis Suarez is instrumental in every attacking phase, with Raheem Sterling providing a refreshing approach on the wing.
The young Englishman has created 22 goal-scoring opportunities this season. Against a defence that has conceded the most goals away from home, chances could be in abundance, however the Liverpool forwards have to be more clinical.
With all the brilliance of Suarez, his shooting accuracy is one of the worst for a striker in the Premiership. 38% of his shots hit the target, whereas most forwards are above 50%, including Saints striker Rickie Lambert.
As well as both being the top scorers for their respective clubs, their creativity and guile in attack is remarkable, as they have created the most chances for others so far this season.
Lambert has created 27 opportunities and 5 clear cut chances, whilst Suarez has fashioned 32 chances and 3 clear cut chances.
And against a Saints keeper who is becoming seriously error prone, anything could happen. They have only managed to keep one clean sheet all season and Gazzaniga’s 3 mistakes cost 3 goals and Adkins valuable points.
With all their struggles Saints have managed to avoid defeat in 4 games and Liverpool are notoriously poor in front of home support, giving the feeling this could end in a stalemate, however if Suarez and Sterling are on song, I worry for a week Southampton defence.
Prediction:– Liverpool 3-1 Southampton