The five key battles that will decide Southampton vs. Liverpool

Southampton play host to Liverpool in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie at St Mary’s on Wednesday night, with both sides aiming to reach the Wembley final.

Saints come into the fixture in poor form, though, having lost three on the bounce in the Premier League – conceding nine in the process – while they twice lost the lead to draw 2-2 with Norwich City at Carrow Road in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

However, they have beaten three top-flight sides already on their way to the last four in this competition, with the highlight being their 2-0 win against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last time out.

Claude Puel’s men will face a tough task against the Merseyside outfit, though, who are second in the Premier League and five points behind the leaders Chelsea.

Like their south coast opponents in midweek, the Reds face a replay in the FA Cup after a much-changed side could only draw 0-0 with League Two outfit Plymouth Argyle at Anfield on Sunday.

Here are FIVE key battles that will decide the outcome at St Mary’s…