We are definitely in the home stretch of the season. Although Liverpool's main focus will be on the impending match up with Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League, there's still a great deal to play for in the league, including the prospect of next year's Europa League qualification, and finishing above Manchester United. Also, finishing above Southampton, who are currently above us in the table, albeit with two games in hand.
We decided to catch up on all things Southampton by having a chat with Jake from St. Mary's Musings, SBN's Southampton site.
The Liverpool Offside: So, looking back at the notes, turns out we were even on points last time we met in the league. Huh. That's weird. Are we destined to finish below you lot on mere goal differential?
St. Mary's Musings: I don't think so. Liverpool seem to be improving week-by-week under Klopp and those two games in hand will prove crucial in the lead up to the season's closing stages. I would love that to happen, though! After all, if it wasn't for the fingertips of Mignolet deflecting Morgan Schneiderlin's last-minute effort at Anfield last year, we would have finished above you lot on goal difference alone in the 2015-16 season!
TLO: How has this season gone since October?
SMM: A bit strange, to be honest. We're so inconsistent in all facets of the club. We only win one game from ten, before winning five from six (with that only non-win being a draw away at Arsenal) without conceding a goal. We play different formations week-by-week... It's hard to keep up. But, those spells of inconsistency and consistency have been helped by the teams around us also having some irregular form.
TLO: Still happy with Ron Koeman? Do you have the best Dutch manager in the Premier League?
SMM: Very happy and without doubt! I feel I have assumed hatred for Louis van Gaal just because of his beef with Ron. Koeman has been proved smart in so many areas: transfers, tactics, man management... What has LVG done apart from - rather amusingly - ruining United? As for Guus Hiddink, he and Chelsea are just making up the numbers for now.
TLO: Hey! We hate Manchester United too. But we're not all about hate here. We're about love. Like, we loved beating you 6-1 in the League Cup! Remember that? Fun times.
SMM: Huh? When was that? I don't seem to remember.
TLO: Fair enough. Southampton didn't have much movement in the January transfer market. Given the volatility of every team not named Leicester, is this viewed as a missed opportunity?
SMM: Saints fans always seem to have a bit of a moan whenever either transfer window is open. Whether it's Liverpool 'stealing' (inverted commas as I think we have done well out of some of the business between the both clubs) our players or Southampton aren't investing in more quality options; there's always a reason to moan. But, things were a bit different this time around. We signed Charlie Austin for a snip at £4million and he scored on his debut away at Old Trafford to beat United on enemy territory for the second season running. In reality, we probably did need to invest a bit more money. However, the United win and the buzz surrounding Austin's arrival meant no one was upset with the business completed in January.
TLO: Score prediction?
SMM: It's a tough one. I have horrible feeling we'll get done over again like last year's home league game and lose 2-0 with the help of some rough officiating. But, I won't ever be forgiven for a suggesting a Liverpool win so I'm going to say it'll be a 2-1 win to Southampton!
TLO: I appreciate the home bias. But you're wrong. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!
You can find the reverse interview right here.