Friday, February 28, 2014

Southampton-Liverpool Preview: Rodgers' men aiming to maintain title pace

Daniel Sturridge Luis Suarez  Liverpool Swansea City Premier League
Liverpool visit Southampton looking to continue their Premier League title challenge by avenging their sole home defeat of the season.

Brendan Rodgers' men were beaten 1-0 in the reverse fixture in September following Dejan Lovren's second-half strike.

The fourth-placed Merseysiders will look to turn the tables on Southampton on Saturday and they head to St Mary's in fine form.

Liverpool sit just four points behind leaders Chelsea having won six and drawn two of their last eight games.

That run includes three successive victories, with their most recent triumph coming in the thrilling 4-3 home win over Swansea City last weekend, which came courtesy of doubles from Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson.

And with Manchester City not in Premier League action this weekend due to the Capital One Cup final, Liverpool can move up to third - or even second if Arsenal lose at Stoke City - by extending their winning run on the south coast.

Defender Mamadou Sakho may be in line for a return for the visitors after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in December, while Rodgers has been handed a further boost with the news that Lucas Leiva is back in training after a knee problem.

Saturday's match will come too soon for the Brazil international, however, while full-back Jose Enrique remains sidelined with a long-standing knee injury.

St Mary's has been something of a bogey ground for Liverpool, with Southampton winning four of the previous five Premier League encounters there, including the last three.

Southampton coach Mauricio Pochettino will be keen for his side - who saw a six-game unbeaten league run end at West Ham last time out - to exploit Liverpool's shaky defence, with only four teams having kept fewer clean sheets than Rodgers men this term.

Pochettino's men are also just one of two sides to keep a clean sheet against Liverpool's wealth of attacking talent this season, with the other being Arsenal.

However, the Argentinian - for whom Jos Hooiveld remains a doubt with an eye injury - will be wary of the Premier League's in-form striker Sturridge, who has netted in eight consecutive matches to help establish Liverpool as the Premier Leagues top scorers with 70 goals in 27 games.

Southampton-Liverpool Preview: Rodgers' men aiming to maintain title pace Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown


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