With the international break it is easy to lose track of how domestic football is shaping up, but for Liverpool fans the 6-1 demolition of Watford will surely live on long in the memory.
A brace from Saido Mane, our 11/10 anytime goalscorer fancy, plus goals from Emre Can, Phillip Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Gigi Wijnaldum did the damage, and while Daryl Janmaat’s consolation goal took the shine off things it did at least mean our Liverpool Win & Both Teams to Score tip landed at 15/8.
The international break can be something of a momentum halter, but hopefully this enterprising style of football so beloved by Jurgen Klopp is so deeply ingrained into his players that they will simply be able to pick up where they left off.
This wee the Reds head south for a Saturday afternoon appointment with the Saints of Southampton. Claude Puel’s side had been enjoying a fine run until back-to-back defeats against Hull and Chelsea rather derailed their hopes of sneaking into the top six in time for Christmas. The Reds must be wary of a Saints side rejuvenated by the lay-off, however.
Liverpool Team News
Klopp will have had fingers, toes and everything else crossed for that matter in the hope that his troops returned from their international jaunts without injury.
Unfortunately, things have not panned out as planned. Adam Lallana, fresh from finding the net against both Scotland and Spain, suffered a groin injury against the Spanish and is likely to miss the return to his former club. His creativity and guile in midfield will be sorely missed.
Diego Lovren will presumably return to the fray after illness against his former club to help tackle Charlie Austin, and other than that it will be interesting to see how Klopp fills the void left by Lallana. One option is to drop Coutinho back into Lallana’s role, and draft in Daniel Sturridge to occupy the Brazilian’s role on either flank. That would be ultra-attacking, although Klopp has proven himself not wholly adverse to such aggressive thinking.
A more conservative approach would be to reintroduce Wijnaldum to a starting berth alongside Jordan Henderson and Emre Can. Against Southampton – a decent side not to be underestimated – that is perhaps the smartest option.
It was all going so well for Southampton. From mid-September to mid-October they embarked on a five game unbeaten run (three wins, two draws) and looked well set to return to the upper echelons of the division; where they belong, most would say.
But it all rather unravelled for the Saints when Chelsea came to town. A 0-2 defeat was marked by a complete inability to break down the Blues’ defensive line, and while Southampton enjoyed the majority of possession they didn’t really have the guile to carve open their opponents. In truth, Chelsea could and perhaps should have extended their margin of victory.
Next up was a trip to Hull, and after taking a sixth minute lead through a Charlie Austin penalty the Saints controlled the first period. But a pair of goals in the space of two minutes for Hull in the second half turned the game on its head, and despite throwing the kitchen sink at the Tigers they simply could not find a way through.
So double disappointment for Puel and his men then; can Liverpool pile on the misery come Saturday?
Southampton vs Liverpool Betting Tips
How will the Reds cope without Lallana here? It’s a fair question given how well he has linked the midfield and attack so far this term, but in Wijnaldum at least Klopp has a high-energy replacement.
The Saints are not without injury worries of their own with first-choice full back pair Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand still carrying knocks and Dusan Tadic breaking his nose on international duty; the Serb should start here, but that is not a comfortable injury to have to carry.
Southampton have seemingly forgotten how to defend having conceded in each of their last four games, and welcoming free-scoring Liverpool to St Marys is not an ideal formula for redemption. The Reds have scored 12 goals in their last three outings and only failed to score two or more goals in one of their last eight Premier League matches (when Jose Mourinho parked a big Manchester bus, you may recall). With 19/20 available on Liverpool netting 2+, we have to get involved at the expense of a beleaguered Saints backline.
Roberto Firmino is a very appetising 15/8 to score anytime here. He has netted in his last pair of away matches, and of course struck against the Hornets at Anfield last time out. Very tasty indeed seeing as he will probably lead the line here.
For Correct Score punters….sorry, we’re going to give this one a wide berth. But we can offer Liverpool to Win & Both Teams to Score – which has landed in 8/11 this term – and at 3/1 that’s outstanding value.