Kick-Off: 15:00 (UK)
The League leaders Liverpool go into the match to maintain their 100% home record and hold on to the top spot in the league.
Injuries are already piling up for the Anfield side. England right back Glen Johnson will miss the game with an ankle injury whilst their top defender Daniel Agger is also a doubt for the game. Coutinho is sidelined for one month from a shoulder injury. This is a big blow for the Reds as Coutinho is one of their most influential and creative players they have in their current squad.
For Southampton, Luke Shaw and Danny Fox will both face late fitness test to determine their participation in the game. Southampton’s recent signing Dani Osvaldo is expected to start alongside with Rickie Lambert up front.
Liverpool – Mignolet; Wisdom, Toure, Agger (doubtful), Jose Enrique; Henderson, Lucas, Gerrard, Moses; Aspas, Sturridge
Southampton – Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw (doubtful); Rodriguez, Schneiderlin, Wanyama; Lallana, Osvaldo, Lambert
Southampton will use a 4-2-2-1-1 formation with Osvaldo playing behind Lambert and linking up their midfielders. Maurico Pochettino will go with the same hard pressing tactics that they were famous for. With Wanyama & Schneiderlin in the pivot, Liverpool will barely get any breathing space in the midfield if everything goes according to Pochettino’s plan. Lucas and Gerrard vs Wanyama and Schneiderl – this midfield battle will be the real key to determining the outcome of the game.
With the absence of Coutinho, Sturridge may play as a false 9, dropping deep against the Saints in order to inject some extra creativity to their game. Liverpool will also try to exploit their opponents with swift counter attacks. Southampton’s high pressing, high lined game play makes them vulnerable to counter attacks. Width will also be crucial and Liverpool will surely miss Glen in this department. So Liverpool’s attacks will be concentrated more on the left hand side of the pitch where Moses’ darting runs and Enrique’s over lapping runs will come handy.
Even though Southampton have had a good defensive record in recent games, they are still struggling to get goals this season. With Sturridge, Aspas and Moses in attack, Liverpool will surely have the upper hand at Anfield. If the Reds can neutralize Southampton’s midfield threat, it will be an easy win for the home side.
Liverpool 3-1 Southampton