Saints vs Liverpool: Preview

By SFC Media time Fri 28 Feb Club

Saints go in search of a league double of wins when they host fourth placed Liverpool on Saturday evening. Kick-off 5.30pm.

The free-scoring Merseysiders are in town this weekend and will be keen to avenge September’s 1-0 defeat to Saints at Anfield with Dejan Lovren’s goal contributing to the only loss that Brendan Rodgers’ men have tasted on home soil in the Barclays Premier League this season.

The 53rd minute strike by Lovren knocked Liverpool off top spot in mid-September as Saints moved within two points of the Reds after five games played in the season’s infancy stage.

Liverpool have sustained their title ambitions since that game though, and arrive at St Mary’s this weekend sitting just four points behind league leaders Chelsea, as they continue their pursuit of Champions League football for next season.

Saints have become something of a bogey team for Rodgers’s men, with the corresponding fixture from last season ending in a 3-1 win for the hosts as Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert, and Jay Rodriguez all scored to prolong a run of having won four of the last five home league matches against the Reds.

Furthermore, Southampton are currently unbeaten at home in their past five matches in all competitions, having lost just once since the turn of the year at St Mary’s.

Liverpool are undefeated in their previous eight league matches, with key man Daniel Sturridge hitting goals in all of those games as the striker chases a Premier League record set by Ruud van Nistelrooy of scoring in ten consecutive matches.

The Merseysiders have two of the league’s top scorers in Luis Suarez and Sturridge who have struck 23 and 18 times respectively for the Reds this season, whilst midfielder Steven Gerrard leads the way in the assists charts with nine to his name.

With the England squad named at senior and youth level this week, it’s somewhat timely that the two clubs should meet, with the teams having had the most goals scored by English players in the Premier League this season in their ranks.

It is also worth noting that neither side has had a player sent off in the Premier League so far this season.

Team News

Victor Wanyama missed last week’s game at West Ham as he continues to work on his fitness after recovering from a hairline fracture on his lower leg.

Defender Jos Hooiveld was also absent with an eye injury, but has returned to training this week.

Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez’s early returns from ankle ligament injuries means both men will be in contention for a place in the team this weekend.

Liverpool are likely to stick with a back four that sees Glen Johnson playing at left back, with Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel forming a centre-back pairing, and young John Flanagan on the right, as the Reds seek to address their tally of goals against away from home.

The fluid movement of Sturridge, Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, and Raheem Sterling is protected by Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson at the base of the Reds’ midfield.

Defender Kolo Toure is therefore unlikely to be involved, but manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva and defender Mamadou Sakho have both returned to training.

Pre-match quotes

Mauricio Pochettino:

“We’re fully aware that we’re going to be facing a very tough game ahead of us.

“Liverpool are one of the candidates to actually win the Premier League. They have quality players as anyone can see. We just have to be able to play our game, in order to try and get something positive out of it.

“We studied the two wins against Liverpool on the videotape, but it’s clear that the game now is going to be completely different from those two games. There’s going to be two completely different teams as well in two different state of minds too, so it will be a very different game and we’ll try to face up to it as well as we can.”

Brendan Rodgers:

“Last weekend we conceded a few goals - one from a free-kick we were disappointed with, one a penalty and one an incredible finish from Jonjo Shelvey but it's not about any one player or any one unit, it's the whole team.

“We've scored 70 goals and we're the highest goalscorers because we're building a platform for the team to go forward and play. If we're defending it's because we haven't pressed the ball well enough at the top of the field.”

Previous Meetings

Saints have a good recent home record against the Merseysiders having won four of the last five league meetings on the south coast.

A 1-0 win at Anfield in September sets Saints up for a possible double, something they also achieved in 2003/04. Second half goals from James Beattie and Kevin Phillips earned a second win of the campaign over the Reds having also taken a 2-1 victory at Anfield.

Saints fell to Daniel Agger’s header in a 1-0 defeat at Anfield last season, but got their revenge with a 3-1 victory over the Reds at St Mary’s last March thanks to goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert, and Jay Rodriguez.

Last season was the first top-flight meeting since 2004/05 where the results fell into the same pattern of a home win for Saints but a narrow away defeat.

Overall, there have been 94 meetings between the two teams, with Liverpool winning 46 of those matches to Saints’ 27, and 21 games ending in a draw.

Match Information

Lee Probert will referee Saturday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr R Ganfield and Mr G Beswick. Mr A Marriner is the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can watch his interview, as well as the press conferences in full on our video channel.

After the match there will be plenty more content on and Saints Player, so stay tuned!

And if you’re coming to the game, don’t forget to take your smartphones and join in with #MarchingIn on our social media channels. Tweet us @SouthamptonFC or comment on our official Facebook page and upload images onto Instagram with the #MarchingIn for a chance to appear in a future edition of our Matchday Magazine.

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