George Pitts · Tipster- Sportinglife.com
We’ve got Friday Night Football in the Premier League on Friday. George Pitts fancies Southampton to give Liverpool a game under the lights at St Mary’s.
Southampton v Liverpool
St Mary’s Stadium, 2000 BST kick-off on Sky Sports Premier League
Southampton beat a relegation rival in Brighton last weekend to give their survival hopes another boost.
Saints have won seven and drawn three in the Premier League since Ralph Hasenhuttl replaced Mark Hughes in early December, leaving them 16th and five points clear of the bottom three with seven games to go.
Survival is not yet secured but they are heading that way. Friday will be seen as a free hit ahead of a generally favourable run-in against Wolves, Newcastle, Watford, Bournemouth, West Ham and already-relegated Huddersfield.
Since Hasenhuttl came in they have beaten Spurs and Arsenal at St Mary’s, drawn at Chelsea and put up a fight in an entertaining 3-2 defeat to Man United at Old Trafford, so this is no picnic for the visitors.
The Austrian’s gung-ho style has often been compared to that of Friday’s opposite number Jurgen Klopp and it will be interesting to see how they both approach the clash.
Southampton have, though, lost to Man City on home turf and they welcome the other title-chasing side in Liverpool to the south coast for Friday Night Football.
Klopp’s side wobbled slightly at the end of January with four draws in six putting Man City in the driving seat, but three wins on the bounce have kept them in with a shout of winning their first league title since 1990.
With two Champions League quarter-final legs to play in April as well as the league run-in, it will not be easy but Klopp will, as the old cliche goes, want to take it game-by-game.
Man City returned to the top with a comfortable win over Cardiff on Wednesday. With the Citizens not playing in the league again until April 14, this match is a good chance for the Reds to claim top spot for at least another nine days.
As it stands at the top..
- Man City P32 W26 D2 L4 GD+62 Pts80
- Liverpool P32 W24 D7 L1 GD+53 Pts79
- Southampton are winless in their last five Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D2 L3), failing to score each time.
- Liverpool have won their last three Premier League games against Southampton – they’ve never won four in a row against Saints in their league history.
- Southampton have won five of their 10 Premier League games against Liverpool at St Mary’s – they’ve only beaten Everton more often at the ground in the competition (6).
- This will be Southampton’s first top-flight home game on a Friday since December 1991 (1-1 vs Notts County) with all five of their such games in the Premier League coming away from home (W1 D2 L2).
- Liverpool have won five of their last six Premier League games on a Friday (D1) since a 2-4 loss at Arsenal in April 2004.
- Southampton are looking to win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since May 2016 (a run of four).
- Liverpool have conceded just nine goals in 16 away league games this season, the joint-fewest along with Man City. In fact, they’ve shipped more than once on one occasion on the road this season, in what was their only league defeat so far in 2018-19 (1-2 vs Man City).
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Southampton, netting four goals in total.
- Mohamed Salah hasn’t scored in any of his last eight appearances in all competitions for Liverpool – his longest run without a goal since a run of 10 games with Roma between November 2015 and January 2016.
- Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp won the only previous meeting between him and Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhüttl, with Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund beating VfR Aalen 4-1 in a German Cup match in October 2012.