Liverpool vs Southampton
‘This is Anfield’ so reads the sign in the players’ tunnel at Liverpool’s home, as if anyone needed reminding; it’s rather less a welcome than a warning of impending doom!
We’re approaching three years since the Reds last lost a Premier League match on home soil; so what hope, if any, do Southampton have when they visit the champions-elect on Saturday?
Here at SBOTOP we’ve been previewing Jurgen Klopp’s incredible side week on week, looking for a shred of hope for their opponents. There’s no point looking at the Premier League 2020 for the top place any more. Liverpool are 19 points clear of Manchester City, and with 14 games to play, can anyone see the Reds losing half of them?
Back to Saturday, Liverpool face a side on the up; Southampton have won four of the last six to launch themselves up to ninth in the table and away from danger, and they are in great form on the road.
There’s your shred of hope!
Are Liverpool better than the Invincibles?
The Reds’ Premier League 2020 results have continued in exactly the same vein as in 2019, with win after win. Klopp’s side are breaking records for fun, they have the best ever performance in any of Europe’s top leagues after 24 games, and they have a great chance of going unbeaten throughout the season.
The last team to reach that goal was Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal back in 2004, but this team could be even better. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is surely stronger than Arsenal’s closest rivals back then, and the Sky Blues are so far behind they are now looking elsewhere for silverware.
A midweek trip to West Ham gave Liverpool the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table and of course they did. Mo Salah smashed in a first-half penalty and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a second shortly after the half-time break to seal the points.
The Reds have now beaten every one of their league opponents at least once this season, a feat they last achieved in 1886!
Klopp’s team has been relentless, winning many games in great style and, equally, toughing it out when they have needed to, as they did in a hard-fought 1-2 victory away to Wolves a couple of weeks ago.
But their youngsters did slip up in the FA Cup last week, drawing with Shrewsbury, though the Saints won’t be taking anything away from that result.
Danny is dazzling
Southampton have made a remarkable recovery since the turn of the year when they were in deep relegation mire. Losing 0-9 at home to Leicester City in autumn rang the alarm bells. But the Saints didn’t panic and are now in relative comfort, thanks to the goals of Danny Ings.
Only two players, Jamie Vardy and Sergio Aguero have scored more goals than Ings so far this season. The former Liverpool striker is on 14 for the season and looks back to his best, before injuries cruelly took a chunk out of his career.
Southampton arrive at Anfield with back-to-back away wins in the league, beating Crystal Palace 0-2 last time out, and they’ll be out to give the Reds a run for their money.
The Reds have won 23 of the 43 meetings in the Premier League era, with the Saints winning 11 and there have been nine draws, and Southampton haven’t won any of the last five meetings.
Liverpool beat their opponents on the second match of this season, with goals from former Saint Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, before Ings scored a late consolation thanks to a blunder from Liverpool’s stand-in keeper Adrian.
The Reds’ league record of 23 wins and one draw is daunting, but Southampton have won the last four on the road, in all competitions.