Southampton v Liverpool – Match Preview

St-Marys-Stadium

One win, three draws and three defeats is what you’d refer to as a mixed bag for manager settling into life at a new club. Managerial change has dominated the bottom clubs once again this week after Reading sacked Brian McDermott, with comparisons instantly drawn with Southampton’s decision to dispense with Nigel Adkins. The above-stated record belongs to his replacement and current Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino. It’s an admirable start considering that solitary victory came against Premier League champions Manchester City but highlights the instability that come with mid-seasons dugout reshuffles. While the Saints are probably assured of another season in the t0p-flight they’re close to the relegation zone than they were when Pochettini0 arrived; the players struggling to get to grips with his newly implemented methods. So probably not the best time to play in-form Liverpool then?

The Reds are on a crusade to secure European qualification for next season and took a monumental step towards achieving that by beating Tottenham last season. The addition of Phillipe Coutinho has breathed new and exciting life into the Reds attack in recent weeks and with Luis Suarez still performing at the top rung, their overall record of 21 goals in the last seven top-flight fixtures tells its own story. Such is the confidence of Brendan Rodgers’ side at the moment you’d be crazy not to bank on them recording a fourth win on the spin. Especially with Suarez in such irresistible form, 16 goals in as many games, and he will relish the trip to the South Coast having notched a hat trick in Liverpool’s last away game against Wigan.

Team News

Danny Fox (thigh) and Steven Davis (illness) are near full fitness meaning Southampton could have a fully fit squad on Saturday.

Pepe Reina could return for Liverpool after overcoming a thigh injury. The prospect of shoulder surgery may not be enough to keep Joe Allen from playing.

What the managers said…

“Liverpool have been on a very good run and have very good players. But we will go all out to play very well in order to get the three points. We have to know who we are facing, but we also have a winning mentality and we are definitely going to try and win and that mentality is growing within my group every day. For me his most important aspect is his mentality and his focus. Aside from his technical virtues, he is a true winner and that is clear. In our tactical planning we always think of the whole of the opposition, but we also take into account the qualities of all of the individuals.” Mauricio Pochettino warned his side to be wary of Liverpool and Luis Suarez in particular (saintsfc.co.uk)
“Our recent run of form will show that we’re a team which is improving and developing. The win against Tottenham showed further enhancement of that. The teams above will know they can’t be making any slip-ups, not only because of us but for themselves. This is the stage of the season when you want to win games. We can only concentrate on ourselves and get as many victories as we can.” Brendan Rodgers warned Liverpool’s rivals for European place to watch their backs (Liverpool Echo)

Pre-Match Statistic: The last time Southampton and Liverpool met at St Mary’s was in January 2005 when the home side ran out 2-0 winners.

Prediction: Southampton 1-3 Liverpool

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