Southampton host Liverpool at St. Mary’s Stadium on Sunday. The hosts are already relegated whilst The Reds have secured the fifth spot and can’t finish any higher or lower. We could see plenty of goals with both sides liberated by having nothing to play for. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 3-1 in November.
Saints have had a disaster of a season. Wins in rounds 23 and 25 against Chelsea and Leicester gave them a prayer of survival but they’re winless in 12 matches since. Nine of those matches have ended in defeat with their only three draws coming against Man Utd (0-0 away), Tottenham (3-3 at home) and Arsenal (3-3 away, having led 3-1).
Since that point at the Emirates, they have lost five matches in a row. They lost 1-0 at home to Bournemouth and then 3-1 at Newcastle having led 1-0. A 4-3 defeat at Nottingham Forest was very damaging as a win would have kept their slim survival hopes alive. Southampton were officially relegated after a 2-0 home loss to Fulham. Their match last weekend brought a 3-1 loss at Brighton.
Southampton Team News
Central defenders Mohamed Salisu and Armel Bella-Kotchap are ruled out, as is left back Romain Perraud. January signing from Luton, James Bree was handed a start at right back vs Brighton but Tino Livramento could replace him for this match.
Che Adams is injured up front and it was Joe Aribo down the middle last weekend. Teenager Dominic Ballard got his debut against the Seagulls and could be thrown in as the centre forward by coach Ruben Selles.
Saints will definitely finish bottom and they have nothing to play for except pride. Ruben Selles is departing the club and will want to finish on a high with at least a draw.
The starting XI could have several fringe players selected or even some youngsters as they look to begin planning for next season.
Liverpool have had a tough season in parts. A five-match winless run with three defeats made the top four a distant goal. They strung together seven wins in a row to close the gap but a home draw with Aston Villa last weekend and wins by their rivals means a spot in the Europa League next season.
After thrashing Leeds 6-1 away, they won the next five league matches by one goal margins. A 4-3 win against Spurs did see them 3-0 up after 15 minutes though. A 1-0 win against Brentford saw them put up 2.24 xG. After cruising to a 3-0 win at a poor Leicester side, they could only draw 1-1 at Anfield against Villa last Saturday. A draw was a fair result as the Reds were limited to 0.75 xG.
Liverpool Team News
Klopp is without three central midfielder options in Stefan Bajcetic, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara. Andy Robertson hurt his groin in training and will probably sit this one out with Ibrahima Konate has been ill. Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip could replace them.
Darwin Nunez is fit to return and Roberto Firmino could be handed a final start in the Reds shirt. James Milner will hope for a farewell outing from the bench. Liverpool may consider handing a rare start to backup goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.
Liverpool can’t finish fourth or sixth. This match is a chance to end the season on a high and to continue their strong form.
They will play to win and will look to keep attacking as their strong attacking subs enter the action. Klopp will be eyeing three points and a big margin of victory.
Southampton have lost 8 of their last 9 matches (one draw)
Saints have lost 10 of their last 12 home EPL fixtures (W1, D1)
Southampton have lost 10 of their last 11 meetings with Liverpool
Liverpool have won 7 of their last 8 Premier League matches.
Liverpool have won their last 3 away EPL matches (1 win in 8 away matches before that)
Saints tend to do much better against the top sides but Liverpool should have far too much. The Reds should win by a good margin and score plenty of goals against the worst team in the division.