Southampton vs. Liverpool - Preview and Predictions
Posted on Mar 15th, 2013 by Araz Heydariyehzadeh
A very chunky 77% of our pundits think that Liverpool will win at St. mary's this weekend, but despite their excellent result against Spurs at Anfield last week, we believe Liverpool might be much harder pressed than people think.
Last week Brendan Rodgers' men won a third Premier League game on the spin for the first time this season. Confidence may well be very high at Liverpool right now but a game away at St. Mary's, against a Southampton side desperate for points might be a much more difficult task than it seems.
Confidence in Liverpool
Liverpool are just 2 points off Arsenal in 5th place, and their 3 game winning streak has put them in serious contention for a Europa League qualification spot. The competition may be mocked by those who don't know better but it is of critical importance if a club that doesn't qualify for the Champions League wants to have any chance of holding on to their top players for sustained periods of time. Qualifying for Europe at all is something that might have seemed out of reach when Liverpool dropped down to to 9th place after an atrocious home defeat to West Brom less than a month ago, but things have changed since then.
Rodgers' men have been improving most of the season and now they appear to have started clicking in the way he might have imagined at the start of the season, they are playing football (albeit in fits and spurts), that could make them a threat to anyone. Suarez is still firing, Downing has found a new lease of life, and the arrivals of Coutinho and Sturridge are providing attacking options that have allowed Liverpool to change their tactics to suit the situations they are presented with. As a result they have become more capable exposing their oppositions weaknesses as they demonstrated against Tottenham last week.
The only lingering issue for Liverpool is that they are still a little rocky on the road sometimes. Just 4 wins out of 14 away trips, and 22 goals conceded is not quite good enough to challenge the big boys but their away results have improved too recently so they should be aiming for a win against Southampton.
When Southampton celebrated the arrival of their new manager by beating Manchester City 3-1 at St. Mary's it looked like relegation might be a forgotten memory and mid-table a more realistic possibility, but since then the Saints have fallen a little and after a 0-0 draw at Norwich last week they find themselves right back in the relegation mire.
For a team at the bottom end of the table Southampton do have a few key strengths which could worry Liverpool. The Saints have been defeated in only 5 of their 15 home games this season and they do seem able to score past most teams. In fact they have failed to score in just 6 of their 29 matches this season (the same number as Arsenal and only one more than Chelsea).
The other big factor on their side is motivation, they must now start scoring points or the possibility of even playing Liverpool again next season might slip away. That motivation has made many a team from down the table suddenly become extremely dangerous in the final stages of a campaign. With a decent squad and good attacking options Southampton are strong candidates to become that sort of a team and unfortunately for Liverpool, their form over the past couple of seasons has made them exactly the sort of team that might become the victim of a weaker but more desperate and dangerous opposition.
Our Prediction: 41% of our pundits are predicting that Liverpool will beat Southampton by 2 or more goals this weekend, something only two teams have managed at St. Mary's this season. We think, that despite their poor form the Saints are fighting for their lives and will make things very difficult for Liverpool. It probably won't be enough though, resulting in what will be only a 5th a away win of the season for Liverpool, in a game that will see both teams scoring.
Show the world you know the score!