MatchThe opposition lowdown: Southampton

By Joe Urquhart


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Get the lowdown on Southampton ahead of Liverpool's trip to St Mary's Stadium on Sunday.

The view from Southampton

Jacob Tanswell, Southampton correspondent at The Athletic

On Southampton's style of play...

"It has been widely accepted that Southampton struggle to play through the thirds and be patient in their build-up. Under Ruben Selles, the side are still incorporating certain aspects of former manager Ralph Hasenhuttl's principles, which include a heavy emphasis on moving the ball forward quickly after turnovers and playing into the 'red zone' - the space between the opposition's central midfield and centre-backs.

"Out of possession, the high-pressing style has been tailored, with Selles preferring to use triggers to time full-on pressing routines. [They try] to transition quickly after regaining possession, using the space left by the opposition. As ever with James Ward-Prowse, Southampton's best route to goal is through set plays, especially his free-kicks. However, their threat from corners has been of greater use of late, scoring three goals in the previous six games."

Predicted formation...

"Southampton will aim to condense midfield and press in pockets, so will likely line up in a 4-2-3-1 shape, with Carlos Alcaraz in the No.10 role and connecting midfield and attack. Although Selles does not like starting in a back-three shape, the system could come into play in the latter stages of the game."

On Saints' key players this season...

"Romeo Lavia has been head and shoulders above any other player this season when it comes to consistency, despite only turning 19 in January and still being in his first year of first-team football. Lavia has made the second-most progressive passes of any Southampton player, despite missing nine games through injury, and is the only teenager in the Premier League to have made over 50 tackles this season. It goes without saying that Ward-Prowse has been one of the few other key players."

Previous meeting

In the reverse fixture at Anfield, Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners over Southampton last November.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring in the sixth minute, before Che Adams pegged back the Reds just three minutes later. But Darwin Nunez struck twice before the half-time interval to put his team in control and ultimately earn the points.

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Inside Anfield: Liverpool 3-1 Southampton


  • Liverpool are aiming to record a 10th league double over Saints and their fifth in the last six seasons they have faced each other.
  • The Reds have won 10 of the last 11 league clashes home and away, scoring 28 times while conceding five, and been victorious on four of their last five visits to Southampton.
  • If Liverpool take the points, it will be their 50th league win over Saints.

What they said

Ruben Selles, Southampton head coach

"Well, I think I have been impressed by Liverpool over the last seven years with Jürgen Klopp. I think he has been one of the big references in Europe from the gegenpressing that he practised when he came to a team that was fighting to be in the top four to a team that is fighting for the titles, and won the Champions League and the Premier League after, I think, 30 years.

"I think the season didn't start in the best way for them but he just made some changes in the way that he approaches the game and his team, with this mobility of [Trent] Alexander-Arnold into the middle and different variations, looks again a very, very solid Liverpool. So it's not a surprise – they are a reference in Europe and Jürgen is a reference for all the coaches."



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