Southampton v Liverpool pre-match analysis: Saints look to capitalise on European hangover

The two sides meet again after playing out a 1-1 draw earlier in the season

Southampton v Liverpool pre-match analysis: Saints look to capitalise on European hangover
Sadio Mane scored a late equaliser at Anfield earlier in the season | Photo: The Telegraph

Southampton host Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium this Sunday lunchtime, as both sides look to continue their pursuit of reaching the Europa League next season.

Huge win last weekend

The Saints picked up a crucial result last weekend as they beat Stoke City 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium to leapfrog the Potters in the race for European football.

The result brought the Saints back to winning ways after three winless games against Chelsea, Bournemouth and Sunderland.

Given that none of the other teams around Saints in the table were playing last weekend they installed real pressure on all those teams, who now really have the games stacking up with the FA CupChampions League and Europa League.

It wasn't just the result which was impressive against Stoke but also the performance, as in the first half the Saints put in one of their best showings of the season. Despite this, they should have really seen the game off before half-time and were left with some nervous moments in the second half.

Liverpool have been looking back to their best in recent weeks and so the result which they Saints got last weekend can give them a breath of fresh air heading into the final eight games off the season which are once more looking like having something riding on it for the Saints.

Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring against Manchester United in the Europa League | Photo: 90min.com
Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring against Manchester United in the Europa League | Photo: 90min.com

Liverpool weren't in action last weekend as they were supposed to be playing Chelsea who were in FA Cup action, meaning another game which will be getting rescheduled for the back end of the season.

The likes of Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino have both been in magnificent form of late and could cause real problems to a Saints side that has been much more solid at the back since the return of Fraser Forster.

The tactical view

Whenever these two sides meet it's an interesting encounter as the Merseyside club have signed five Saints players in the past two seasons, leading to something of a rivalry between the two sets of fans.

The Saints still don't really know what their best side is as they constantly change from a back four to a back five, meaning none of the players can get settled or fully focus knowing that they will definitely be playing.

As for the forwards generally three are chosen from Shane Long, Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic, Juanmi, Charlie Austin, Sadio Mane or the returning Jay Rodriguez to start, so there is real competition in the forward line at the club.

Liverpool tend to play with a 4-3-3 formation with  Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and James Milner the three who usually occupy the midfield positions whilst Lucas and Joe Allen can both step in if required.

The back four of late has been made up of ex-Saints duo Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren as well as Alberto Moreno and Mamadou Sakho, with Belgian Simon Mignolet in goal.

The result could come down to a matter of desire, but with Liverpool in action against bitter rivals Manchester United as late as Thursday evening, Southampton could have the edge.