Liverpool are back on the road in search of three valuable points, where an ex-Red awaits on the south coast as part of a buoyant Southampton outfit.
Southampton vs. Liverpool
Monday, January 4, 2021 – 8pm (GMT)
Premier League (17)
Referee: Andre Marriner
It was not the end to 2020 that the Reds would have wished for, with two draws against 15th and 19th in the table ensuring they failed to create a buffer at the summit.
Results elsewhere in that time have seen Man United move level on points with Liverpool, second on only goal difference, and now a new year awaits and a swift chance to put three points on the board.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side will need to rectify their away record to do so, however, having only won two of their eight games on the road this season.
Southampton have already dropped 11 points at St Mary’s which provides an opening, but Liverpool will need to be at the top of their game against a resurgent Saints side.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have impressed in the Premier League to date, picking up 26 points from their 16 games to sit just seven points behind the leaders.
It makes for an interesting affair but one the Reds need to emerge as victors from after three draws in their last five top-flight matches.
It’s time to start 2021 on the right note, Reds.
Thankfully, no new injury concerns emerged from the trip to Newcastle with the manager confident “we can go with the same squad to Southampton.”
That includes Thiago after his 17-minute cameo at St James’ Park, his first appearance since mid-October after finally overcoming a troublesome knee injury.
The Spaniard instantly showed his class but “he felt the intensity” as he still needs to work his way back to full match fitness.
There is a chance that he could be named in the starting lineup but the Reds will no doubt assess the risk before throwing him back into the XI.
Gini Wijnaldum, meanwhile, will likely be straight back in after being rested last time out.
The hosts, on the other hand, will be without both Jannik Vestergaard and Nathan Redmond while Hasenhuttl will return to the dugout after a period of self-isolation.
Potential Saints XI: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Walcott; Adams, Ings
Last 5 Away to Southampton (All Competitions)
Won 2-1 – August 2019 (Ings; Mane, Firmino)
Won 3-1 – April 2019 (Long; Keita, Salah, Henderson)
Won 2-0 – February 2018 (Firmino, Salah)
Lost 1-0 – January 2017 (Redmond)
Drew0—0 – November 2016
*To be played behind-closed-doors
Did You Know?
Southampton have failed to score in six of their last eight top-flight matches against Liverpool, winning none of those meetings dating back to 2016.
In fact, the Reds have won the last six meetings with an aggregate score of 17-2, where Mo Salah has been the star of the show having netted seven times – where only Robbie Fowler has more against Southampton in the Premier League (8).
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Southampton – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp touched on how he feels the Premier League bubble is safe and is hopeful that a circuit-breaker is not required:
“I think really we can carry on. I’m not a specialist, we all know that. We all try to do our best to keep the competition going, and I think it works well.
“I think the competition can go on, and I think it’s important as well, because people want to watch it.
“And we are, in this case, not part of the society. We usually live isolated, go to the training ground and stuff like this, so I think really we can carry on.
“But I’m not a specialist and I respect all the decisions made in the next few weeks.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Chris Williams will keep you informed with his usual bias commentary throughout all the action on our usual matchday live blog, starting from 7.15pm.