Who: Liverpool vs Southampton
When: Saturday, February 1st @ 10:00am ET
Line: Liverpool -375 | Draw +480 | Southampton +1050
Not sure if you’ve heard, but Liverpool are 19 points up on second place FFP violating Manchester City who are owned by a human rights abusing oil nation. The Reds are on pace to lock up the Premier League in March.
On Saturday, in-form Southampton visit Anfield. Ex-Liverpool striker Danny Ings is on fire. Southampton have fully recovered from their 9-0 shellacking from Leicester and are solidly mid-table.
This will be a greater test than oddsmakers have priced the match. Let’s preview.
Liverpool vs Southampton Preview
I believe that Manchester City will drop points to Tottenham on Sunday. If so, a Reds win would put them between 21-22 points clear. This is their last real test until the Champions League Round of 16. Expect the Reds to come out swinging.
Top to bottom, Liverpool have all the quality. If we did a combined starting XI, no Southampton player would crack it. However, the Saints do have quality all over the pitch.
Also, even before their good run-of-form, Southampton gave Liverpool all they could handle at St. Mary’s in August. Liverpool won that game late 2-1. That was coming off a packed early season schedule that included the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup. The Reds were tired. But Southampton threw everything at the lads. They had the xG edge that match, 2.14 to 1.52.
Southampton’s attack is headed by ex-Liverpool striker Danny Ings. The scientific term to describe Ingsy’s play of late is he’s “in form af.” Ings is tied for third in the Premier League in goals this season with 14. One of those came as a sub against Liverpool in August.
Yellow card machine James Ward-Prowse will cause havoc in the midfield, but otherwise Liverpool should handle their business with relative ease. Southampton’s 4-4-2 could clog the flanks for Trent Alexander-Arnold (who had one of his worst matches of the season against the Saints in August) and Andy Robertson. However, it may also leave them lacking numbers moving forward.
If there’s one area of concern for Liverpool, it’s ex-Saints speedster Sadio Mane being out. With a goal and an assist in August, Mane was Man of the Match. He’s done well against is old club. Who will replace him here? Klopp may not give Divock Origi the start (Big Div is nursing a minor thigh injury). We could finally see Takumi Minamino up front or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Although moving Ox to the attacking three means that Fabinho will need to be fit to start. He’s looked rusty so far since coming back.
These are minor inconveniences though. While Liverpool have been a little wobbly the past couple of weeks, they’re at Anfield. And they’re the better squad.
Anfield will give Danny Ings a warm reception. And then a cold reminder that we have the best defense and keeper in the Premier League. Liverpool have another ho-hum 2-0 win.