Spirits and expectations are both running high for Liverpool after they managed to capitalize on slip-ups from their rivals by beating Watford 1-0 on Monday evening. Other good news for the Reds is the fact that both Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho should be in contention to feature in this pivotal match against Southampton at Anfield.
Liverpool last saw Southampton about mid-way through the horror of January when Southampton won the two-legged EFL semi-final to boot the Reds from that tournament and compound their misery. In fact, Liverpool have not scored at all against the Saints in any of the three matches they’ve played this season, including both 1-0 semi-final losses and the 0-0 draw in the league back in November when Liverpool visited St. Mary’s Stadium.
So, uh, Sunday would be the ideal time to change that, thanks — particularly when at least one of Manchester United or Arsenal are guaranteed to drop points in the match right after. Helping this along may be the fact that Southampton will still be without Liverpool transfer target Virgil van Dijk. The defender has been out with a foot injury since just after the Saints’ semi-final victory against Liverpool at the start of the year.
The Saints currently sit in 10th place, but they have at least two more matches to play than all of their other rivals. They haven’t had a win in their last three matches, however, and some have begun to turn on manager Claude Puel. They’ll be coming to Anfield eager to win and try to fight their way back into the Europa League spots.
Still no word on Jordan Henderson’s injury, but his bff Adam Lallana made a return to action on Monday and got a solid 75 minutes under his belt. Chances are he’ll resume his place in Klopp’s starting XI on Sunday.
Southampton have no other injury concerns aside from van Dijk, and Charlie Austin may be returning to action after being sidelined for the better part of six months.
Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Lucas, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Origi, Firmino
If it’s possible for Coutinho to start, he’ll replace Origi in the line-up, making it Lallana, Firmino, and Coutinho as the front three. We may also see Origi replaced by Daniel Sturridge, though that is less likely. Whatever trio does play will need to find a way through Southampton’s solid defense as they look to subdue Liverpool and counter on the break. Danny Ings, Jordan Henderson, and Sadio Mané all remain out of contention due to injury.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 PM BST/8:30 AM EST Sunday on Sky Sports 1 in the UK and NBC Sports Network in the United States. Online radio coverage is provided by BBC Radio. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, Sportsnet World in Canada, Star Sports Select in India, Supersport3 Africa in Kenya, and Astro Supersport 3 in Malaysia are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.