Southampton - Liverpool Preview: Reds aiming to reach semi-final stage of League Cup

Liverpool can reach the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup for the second successive year when they take on Southampton at St Mary's on Wednesday night.

The Reds, who have already knocked out Carlisle United and Bournemouth both on home soil, can secure their place in the final four of the competition against Ronald Koeman's side in the latest fixture of a hectic schedule.

The Reds embark on the long journey down to the south coast hoping to edge one step closer to their first piece of silverware since 2012, following three consecutive victories in all competitions.

Jürgen Klopp has had a huge impact on the club's fortunes, lifting them to six wins in their last seven games and greatly improving the confidence and morale around the squad and the club as a whole.

Even though the last meeting between these two was only at the end of October, Klopp's first home game in charge, Liverpool have come on a long way since and the German can register a first win for the club away at the Saints in cup competition.

He fielded a weakened team in the previous round as a youthful-looking side overcame Bournemouth thanks to Nathaniel Clyne's first-half strike, but they will be hoping for a smoother passage to the next round with the boss likely to field a stronger starting side in the 101st meeting between the two clubs.

The competition also marks an early opportunity for Klopp to win his first piece of silverware - a chance he has insisted he is keen to take as he targets a trophy-laden tenure on Merseyside.

Team news:

Philippe Coutinho will undergo a late fitness test to determine whether he's available to feature.

The 23-year-old Brazilian has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury sustained against Manchester City last month but is in contention to feature against the Saints after returning to full training.

Captain Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge are expected to be in the travelling party after coming on as second-half substitutes in the recent win over Swansea City to make their first cameos under Klopp.

Elsewhere, Liverpool could rest several players with another important league fixture away at Newcastle United on Sunday in mind - but Mamadou Sakho, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez (all knee) definitely won't be involved.

Jose Enrique and Jordan Rossiter both took part in Liverpool U21s' 3-2 loss to Manchester United on Monday night, but aren't expected to be in the squad whilst Jon Flanagan, who has been on the sidelines since the final day of the 2013-14 season, has been pictured back in training at Melwood but isn't expected to be back in action until the New Year.

Centre-back Jose Fonte could be involved for the home side after overcoming a knee injury - but Jay Rodriguez (ankle), Florin Gardos (knee) and Fraser Forster (knee) are all out. 

Graziano Pelle could reclaim his place up-front after serving a suspension in the last game, whilst Jordy Clasie and Dusan Tadic could also return to the starting line-up.

Head-to-head:

Total: Southampton - 24 wins, Draws - 19, Liverpool - 42 wins.

At St Mary's: Southampton - 19 wins, Draws - 10, Liverpool - 13 wins.

At Anfield: Liverpool - 29 wins, Draws - 9, Southampton - 5 wins. 

Most recent meeting: Liverpool 1-1 Southampton, 25th October 2015, Barclays Premier League. 

Recent form:

Southampton

Form in Premier League: DWWLL
Form in all competitions: WDLLL

Liverpool:

Form in Premier League: DWLWW
Form in all competitions: WLWWW

Match facts: 

The last League Cup fixture between the two teams came in 2002-03, when Liverpool won the competition, as the Reds won 3-1 at Anfield in the third round.

Liverpool have won the competition more than any other club, winning it eight times - most recently in 2011-12.

Liverpool haven't lost away from home since September in all competitions, drawing one and winning three of the four games on the road under Klopp so far.

The Reds have won on their last two visits to Southampton, scoring five goals and keeping two clean sheets.

Southampton have never won the competition but they were beaten finalists in 1979.

The Saints denied Klopp his first victory at Anfield in October, as a late Sadio Mane equaliser secured a 1-1 draw.

The two sides have met in this competition four times previously, with Liverpool winning twice, drawing one and losing one - the single defeat coming away from home.

Christian Benteke has scored in each of his last two games against Southampton.

The Saints have been eliminated in just two of their last 14 home games in the League Cup.

Southampton have made the quarter-finals for the second successive season, but were knocked out by Sheffield United at this stage last year. The last time they went got into the semi-finals was in 1987, before losing to Liverpool in the semis.

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