After beginning the season on a rocky note, Southampton have enjoyed a late renaissance. They are above Liverpool in the table and Ronald Koeman would be hoping his side can finish in the European spot. The home side goes into the game after winning a nervous game against Stoke City 2-1 with Graziano Pelle securing a brace. After the 1-6 loss to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup earlier this season, Southampton will be hoping to avenge things against the Reds in the Premier League on Sunday.
Liverpool seemingly have their campaign back on track as they go into the game against Southampton after knocking out arch-rivals Manchester United out of the Europa League and progress to the quarter-final of the European competition.
While Europa League perhaps represents the Reds’ best chance at qualifying for the Champions League next season, they still find themselves in the race for top 4 along with Southampton. Jurgen Klopp’s men are level on points with Southampton — both with 44 — and the two sides sit in the eighth and seventh place respectively, in the table, although Liverpool have two games in hand.
Sadio Mane was shown the red card against Stoke which would have resulted in him missing this crucial tie. However, the booking was retrospectively overturned which means Koeman has one of his most dangerous attackers available with him. Winter signing Charlie Austin is still out with a hamstring issue.
After having most of the first team members out with injury, Jurgen Klopp fortunately has no fresh injury concerns bar Alberto Moreno, who was not involved against Manchester United due to a slight knock. Jordan Henderson’s reason for substitution against United was “sickness” but the Liverpool captain is expected to be able to recover for the Premier League tie.
Virgil van Dijk
The Southampton defender has been Southampton’s best signing of the summer and arguably one of the best summer addition in the Premier League. The former Celtic player has shown he is reliable at the back. He has added composure to the back-line along with organising and leading. Due to his tall stature, he also poses to be an offensive threat from set-pieces and has scored three times in this campaign.
Beating David de Gea has proved to be difficult in recent times. Philippe Coutinho found a moment of unadulterated magic and did the same in the second leg of the Europa League. The Brazilian was inconsistent in the beginning of the season but since his return from injury, he has managed to find the same groove that put him in the PFA Team of the Year last season. Coutinho along with Firmino could prove to be a menace to deal with and Southampton must be wary of the team that put 6 goals past them earlier this season.
- Since Jordan Henderson joined Liverpool, the Reds have won 50% of the games with him and only 31% without him.
- Southampton have scored their 12 headed goals in the Premier League this season; more than any other team.