There’s no doubt that Southampton will be the team with all of the pressure on their shoulders ahead of this game, with Saints still looking over their shoulder as they occupy 16th position. Liverpool on the other hand approach the clash in excellent form, although there is little pressure on the Reds with expectations quite low as Brendan Rodgers still attempts to instil his own mark on the team this term.
It was only a few months ago that everybody had written Southampton off as certainties for relegation. While Saints may have performed well in most of their games in the early stages of the season, the fact they were not collecting results meant that they appeared to be fighting a losing battle. Fortunately for the St Mary’s outfit, they have managed to convert performances into points over recent months and many are under the belief that they will retain their top flight status by the end of the season. They currently sit in 16th place, four points above the drop zone and against the odds, new manager Mauricio Pochettino is gradually gaining respect. Admittedly, he has only masterminded one win out of his first seven games, but their league position is healthy enough for most fans to ignore this fact for the time being.
Liverpool are another side who have left it late to show what they are made of, with the Reds putting some fine form behind them over recent weeks to make a late charge towards the top four. Admittedly, the odds are still against them, but the optimists are hopeful they can close the two point and one game disadvantage they have over 4th place Arsenal. The most pleasing issue for Brendan Rodgers will be the amount of goals his side have scored, with the Reds bagging twelve in their last three league games. It’s probably their most recent outing that will bring the most smiles around Anfield, with Rodgers’ side recording an unlikely 3-2 win over high-flying Tottenham to give them that extra European incentive.
Southampton could approach the clash with some excellent news, with Mauricio Pochettino having no fresh injury concerns. Furthermore, Pochettino could have Steven Davis, Vegard Forren and Danny Fox available as the trio near full fitness following recent injury problems. Liverpool on the hand are likely to select Pepe Reina, with the Spaniard back in contention following a recent thigh strain.
In terms of a prediction, we think Liverpool could extend their promising run in this game. Southampton’s league position might be comfortable, but they are inferior to their opponents on paper and their form over recent weeks hasn’t exactly been convincing. Taking this into account, we’ll predict a 3-1 victory for Brendan Rodgers’ side.