Soton, away, 16th March 2013, KO 1500 GMT

LOCAL NEWS
Bahrain Reds now have a venue to watch LFC games! Amitabh, a long time LFC fan, also operates the sports bar Champs in the Best Western in Juffair.
Muscat Reds will be meeting in the Habana Sports bar, Grand Hyatt Muscat.
Qatar Reds will be meeting in the Shehrezade Sports bar, Radisson Hotel.

PREVIEW
Liverpool’s 3-2 victory over Spurs last Sunday saw the Reds claim three consecutive league victories for the first time under Brendan Rodgers and moved us up to 6th place, the highest we’ve been all season. Next up is a trip to St Mary’s to face 16th placed Southampton.

Victory over the Saints would make it four league wins in a row for the first time since January/Feb 2011, when Kenny Dalglish – early into his reign as caretaker manager – secured Premier League victories over Wolves (3-0), Fulham (1-0), Stoke City (2-0) and Chelsea (1-0).

We’ve won one of our last six league visits to St Mary’s – a 1-0 win back in January 2003 – drawing two and losing three but we did claim maximum points in the reverse fixture at Anfield back in December, with Daniel Agger heading in a Glen Johnson cross to ultimately secure a 1-0 win.

Premier League record since the two clubs met at the beginning of December:

Liverpool – P: 14 W: 8 D: 2 L: 4 F: 37 A: 18 GD: +19 Pts: 26
Southampton – P: 14 W: 3 D: 7 L: 4 F: 18 A: 19 GD: -1 Pts: 16

Referee: P Dowd

PREDICTED TEAM
Goalkeepers: Reina/Jones (depending on late fitness test for Reina)
Defenders: Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique,
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c)
Strikers: Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho, Downing

I think the back 5 pick themselves at this stage. Reina might not pass a fitness test on his calf, which would give Jones a rare start. With the weeks rest since the Spurs game, all 4 first choice defenders should be available. Skrtel if on form might be preferable for the fast and pressing nature of the Saints tactics, but he seems to be out of form and favour. In midfield, Gerrard is an automatic starter, but his partners might be harder to guess. LFC started with an almost 4-2-4 formation against Spurs, so this might happen again, which means one partner for Gerrard. Lucas has been a regular, but his performance against Spurs was not up to expectations, and his place is not so sure. Allen is about to have shoulder surgery so he may not be risked, or this might be his last game. Finally Henderson seems to
have lost his starting place, but is usually a great foil for Stevie G. I expect Lucas, but Hendo would be my second guess. Suarez and Sturridge are almost guaranteed starters, and the new and improved neither footed Downing is too. Coutinho makes up the last team member in an attacking midfield role.

SAINTS STRENGTHS
Stealing the ball

SAINTS WEAKNESSES
Keeping possession
Defending attacks from the wing
Defending set pieces
Protecting the lead
Avoiding individual errors
– Southampton have the worst defensive record from set plays.
– Suárez, Gerrard and Downing are our three players with above-average
corner accuracy, so we should make sure they take them.
– Suárez should be on free kicks in shooting positions where possible as he
has scored 5 this season (has anyone else scored 1 for us?).

STATISTICS
Liverpool’s overall league record against Southampton:

Total – P: 75 W: 36 D: 18 L: 21 F: 113 A: 86 GD: +27
Away – P: 37 W: 11 D: 9 L: 17 F: 44 A: 58 GD: -14

Liverpool’s biggest victories and defeats v Southampton at The Dell/St Mary’s:

Biggest away win (overall): 3-1 (twice)
Biggest away defeat (overall): 1-4 (7/2/1998)

TRIVIA
Ian Rush and Bruce Grobbelaar have made the most appearances for the Reds in this fixture with 27 apiece, while Ian Rush’s tally of 13 goals makes him the top scorer, but both Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen had better goals to games ratios with the duo scoring eight times in just 12 appearances.

Unsurprisingly, Matt Le Tissier has made the most appearances (25) and scored the most goals (seven) for the Saints in this fixture but Trond Egil Soltvedt has scored an impressive three goals in just four appearances in this fixture for Southampton.

Liverpool have signed three players from Southampton, with the most recent and most successful being Peter Crouch, signed in 2005 for £7m.

Five Reds have left to join the Saints, including Bruce Grobbelaar (August 1994; free) and Mark Walters (January 1996; free).

ODDS
Home win 30%
draw 20%
away win 50%

thanks to http://tomkinstimes.com

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