MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 09:32:37
Feb 11, 2018 at 4.30pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
Attendance: 31,915
FT(HT: 0-2)
Firmino (6'), Salah (42')

Preview: Southampton vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Liverpool's trip to face Southampton at St Mary's on Sunday.

Liverpool will be looking to take another step towards Champions League qualification when they travel to St Mary's to take on relegation-threatened Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

Jurgen Klopp's side go into the weekend sitting third in the table, whereas Southampton are only three places and two points clear of the relegation zone.


Mauricio Pellegrino observes the action during the Premier League game between Southampton and Watford on September 9, 2017© SilverHub

Liverpool's recent raids of Southampton mean that there are a number of sub-plots in this fixture, but the main one from the hosts' side sees manager Mauricio Pellegrino come up against one of his former clubs.

The Argentine may have only played 13 games for the Reds in 2005, but he was also a first-team coach at Anfield from 2008 to 2010 and will be looking forward to seeing some familiar faces when Liverpool visit this weekend.

In terms of on-pitch matters he may not be relishing the contest quite as much, with his side sitting only two points clear of the relegation zone in a battle which encompasses the entire bottom half of the table.

Pellegrino may even consider himself fortunate - in this day and age - to still be in a job following Southampton's disappointing campaign so far, with last weekend's 3-2 victory over bottom club West Bromwich Albion ending a 12-match winless streak which stretched back to November.

Another win this weekend would make it successive Premier League victories for the first time under Pellegrino, and they may take a small amount of encouragement from the fact that their only win all season against a team currently in the top half of the table came against Merseyside visitors when Everton made the trip to St Mary's.

In general, though, Southampton have been poor in front of their own fans this season, with only West Brom winning fewer home matches and only three teams having amassed fewer points at their own ground.

Indeed, failure to beat Liverpool would see the Saints equal an unwanted club record of seven consecutive Premier League home games without a win.

There have been some more encouraging signs recently, though, with Southampton unbeaten in six games across all competitions since their opening outing of 2018 - their longest run without losing since October 2016.

The Saints also just so happen to be unbeaten in their six previous Premier League games played on a Sunday this season, although five of those have ended as draws.

Recent form: DLDDDW
Recent form (all competitions): WDDWDW


Jurgen Klopp arrives for the Premier League game between Swansea City and Liverpool on January 22, 2018© SilverHub

It will be all eyes on Virgil van Dijk when Liverpool arrive at St Mary's on Sunday, with the world's most expensive defender making his first return to his former club since his £75m January move.

The Dutchman can expect a hostile reception, but he is by no means the only one who could come back to haunt the Saints this weekend with Liverpool having signed six players from Southampton since June 2014, totalling £172.5m.

It is fair to say that Van Dijk's Liverpool career has been tumultuous so far. From the highs of scoring the winning goal in a Merseyside derby on his debut to the lows of conceding a 95th-minute penalty which enabled Tottenham Hotspur to rescue a dramatic 2-2 draw at Anfield last weekend.

The controversies and absurdities of that bonkers final 10 minutes may prove pivotal come the end of the season, but it is a curious quirk that since Van Dijk's arrival on January 1, the Reds have let in five goals from the 80th minute onwards - the highest tally in the Premier League.

Ultimately, though, Liverpool are still on course for their target of achieving a top-four spot this season, and while victory for Spurs in the North London derby on Saturday lunchtime would see Liverpool drop down to fourth, they could still steal a march on out-of-form Chelsea, who are not in action until Monday night.

Nothing seems certain with Liverpool, though, and most of all in matches like this, which they would ordinarily be expected to win. Klopp's side have won just one of their four outings since that enthralling victory over Manchester City, although it is also important to remember that they have only lost one of their last 17 Premier League games.

That defeat - against relegation-threatened Swansea City - should be enough to ensure that Liverpool do not get too carried away, though, and they cannot afford to have one eye on Wednesday's first leg of their Champions League tie with Porto when they make the trip to the south coast.

Liverpool also boast an impressive away record, with only Man City having picked up more points on their travels in the Premier League this season. The Reds are also the highest away scorers in Europe's top five leagues, and they need just one goal on Sunday to already equal their tally for the whole of last season.

A certain Mohamed Salah has played the biggest role in that, becoming the quickest player to score 20 league goals for Liverpool since 1915 with his brilliant brace against Tottenham, and the Egyptian winger is now only one away from equalling the most left-footed goals in a single Premier League campaign - a record currently held by Reds legend Robbie Fowler.

Should Salah keep up his current scoring streak then it could be enough to hand Klopp his 50th Premier League win in charge, although the Reds have failed to win any of the five games in which Salah has been unable to contribute a goal or assist.

Recent form: WWWLWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWLLWD

Team News

Virgil van Dijk in action during the Premier League game between Swansea City and Liverpool on January 22, 2018© SilverHub

Van Dijk is expected to start against his former club, and he could well be alongside another ex-Southampton man in Dejan Lovren should Klopp decide to keep faith with the same central back two.

Sadio Mane, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana are all also former Southampton players, and the latter could be involved despite his red card in an Under-23s game this week.

Mane has six goals in his last five Premier League appearances at St Mary's and is expected to start up front alongside the prolific Salah and Roberto Firmino once again.

Joe Gomez will miss the match with a knee injury, but Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Moreno are both fit following recent injury problems.

Southampton could name an unchanged side from the win over West Brom last time out, which would see record signing Guido Carrillo given his first home start for the club.

It is Jack Stephens who has been the main goal threat recently, though, scoring in three consecutive appearances having failed to find the back of the net in his first 38 outings for the club.

Manolo Gabbiadini remains a doubt with a hip injury while Charlie Austin is still out, but there are no new injury concerns for the home side this weekend.

Southampton possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu, Lemina, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Boufal; Carrillo

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Head To Head

Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture at Anfield in November, with Salah helping himself to a first-half brace before Philippe Coutinho capped off the scoring.

However, that was the Reds' first win over Southampton in their last six attempts across all competitions, with Southampton winning three of those.

In the Premier League alone Southampton have only won one of the last eight meetings between these two sides, although Liverpool have not won at St Mary's since goals from Coutinho and Raheem Sterling gave them a 2-0 victory in February 2015.

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We say: Southampton 1-3 Liverpool

Southampton, at the very least, are making themselves harder to beat at the moment, and they come up against a Liverpool side struggling through a spell of inconsistency. The Reds score a lot of goals away from home, though, and we are backing them to come away from St Mary's with all three points.

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Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Southampton and Liverpool?

Virgil van Dijk in action during the Premier League game between Swansea City and Liverpool on January 22, 2018
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