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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Liverpool have creative spark to down Saints

Klopp's men can break down dogged rivals

Liverpool could have plenty to smile about
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Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 1.30pm Sunday

Liverpool are vying with Chelsea and Tottenham to be the Premier League's highest-scoring team but they have failed to find the net in three league and cup meetings with Southampton this season.

The Reds take on the Saints at Anfield bidding to take a further step towards Champions League football.

After a goalless draw in the reverse league fixture and a pair of 1-0 Southampton wins in the semi-final of the EFL Cup, another tight encounter looks likely.

That was the case for Liverpool at Watford on Monday, when Emre Can's stunning volley earned Jurgen Klopp's side a crucial three points.

Liverpool survived a late scare when Sebastian Prodl hit the bar after a free-kick and set pieces could play a big role in the clash with the Saints.

Both teams have struggled to defend corners and free-kicks this season and Liverpool's last home game ended in a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, with Christian Benteke heading Palace's winner from a corner.

Southampton's recent defeats to Chelsea (4-2) and Manchester City (3-0) included goals from Gary Cahill and Vincent Kompany from set-piece situations. Swansea's Alfie Mawson, Palace's James Tomkins, Hull's Michael Dawson and Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny have also profited from that vulnerability against the dead ball.

Liverpool don't have any outstanding threats in the air but punters looking for a first goalscorer bet should consider Can (16-1), Dejan Lovren (33-1) and Joel Matip (35-1).

A more conservative bet could be Liverpool to win and under 3.5 goals. Philippe Coutinho is expected to shake off a dead leg while Adam Lallana, a sub at Watford, also returns to the starting 11 and that pair provide a creative boost for the hosts.

Southampton have struggled against the bigger clubs in the league this season, earning a solitary point from trips to Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton.

They hope to have Manolo Gabbiadini, Jay Rodriguez, Shane Long and Charlie Austin all fit for the end of the season - a rare occurrence - but their attacking threat remains modest and they were held to goalless draws at home to Bournemouth and Hull last month.

Liverpool's win at Watford was a significant result after a weekend in which City, United and Arsenal had all dropped points. Some of the tension surrounding this fixture may have eased and Klopp's men have the cutting edge to beat the Saints at the fourth attempt this season.

Liverpool to win & under 3.5 goals
2pts 8-5 Betway

Team news
Philippe Coutinho should be fit after suffering a dead leg against Watford and Adam Lallana, who replaced the Brazilian at Vicarage Road, could return to the starting 11. Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane remain sidelined.

Striker Charlie Austin could be back in the squad after recovering from a dislocated shoulder sustained in December. Virgil van Dijk (ankle) is still out.

Key stat
Southampton have picked up just five points from 11 games against the Premier League's top seven.

Philippe Coutinho should shake off a dead leg with Adam Lallana also returning to the starting 11 and they provide a creative boost for the Reds
E.W. Terms
Sky bet