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Liverpool vs. Southampton: 10 key things to know as Reds eye more cup progress

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Liverpool are back in action once again on Wednesday evening, welcoming Championship side Southampton to Anfield for an FA Cup fifth round clash.

Liverpool vs. Southampton

FA Cup Fifth Round | Anfield
February 28, 2024 | 8pm (GMT)


The Reds are still on cloud nine after Sunday’s astonishing League Cup win, as Jurgen Klopp added yet another trophy to his collection.

It’s Southampton up next for Liverpool, with a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals up for grabs, but it is a game that arrives at a bad time for both sides.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of the match.

 

1. Reds looking for more domestic cup glory

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's goal-scorer and man-of-the-match captain Virgil van Dijk lifts the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What Liverpool achieved last weekend was special, with injury woes and VAR controversy not stopping them from a famous trophy win.

It keeps the Reds’ hopes of winning an unprecedented quadruple alive, with attention now turning to the FA Cup this week.

In all honesty, this is now bottom of Liverpool’s list of priorities, and Klopp finds himself in a position where he may have to take a risk with team selection.

On the plus side, their opponents aren’t exactly primed for FA Cup duty either…

 

2. How are Southampton faring this season?

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 5, 2018: Wales players during a training session at St. Mary's Stadium ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 Qualifying Round Group 1 match against England. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Southampton suffered relegation from the Premier League last season, but they have made a good fist of making a speedy return at the first attempt.

Russell Martin’s side currently sit fourth in the Championship table, although three defeats in their last four league games suggest they are on the slide.

Much like Liverpool, injuries have started to hurt Saints, with key men such as Ross Stewart, Juan Larios and Che Adams either still out or missing action recently.

Promotion takes precedence for Martin and his players and this match is not good timing for them, with the manager admitting as much:

“We could do without that right now if I’m being honest, But, we will have 5,000 supporters going there who have been amazing on the road this season.

“We need to make sure we go there and give a good account of ourselves and make it worthwhile for those people.”

 

3. Who’s out injured for Liverpool?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch is treated for an injury during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Incredibly, Liverpool suffered yet more injury woes in the win over Chelsea, with the fitness curse becoming laughable at this point.

Ryan Gravenberch was stretchered off after a poor tackle by Moises Caicedo, and he now looks set for a spell on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage – though Klopp conceded it “could’ve been much worse.”

The Dutchman joins a heap of absent players, including Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota, among others.

Wataru Endo is a doubt after picking up a knock against Chelsea, and Dominik Szoboszlai, Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez are all “touch and go” to be available, following some fairly lively celebrations at Wembley!

Klopp has also admitted that Thiago might not return this season – he may have played his final game for Liverpool – but Stefan Bajcetic is pain-free and slowly edging towards a comeback.

 

4. Possible Liverpool starting XI

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Liverpool's Bobby Clark during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Predicting Klopp’s starting XI is never easy, but this one feels particularly hard, given the toll Sunday’s game will have taken.

It would be a huge surprise if certain senior figures were picked, including Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Luis Diaz, with Klopp having to play lots of youngsters.

Caoimhin Kelleher will continue in goal after more League Cup final heroics, while Jarell Quansah and Joe Gomez could start, too.

Alexis Mac Allister may play after only featuring for 87 minutes at Wembley, while weekend heroes Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns could all feature.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Gomez, Tsimikas; Mac Allister, McConnell, Clark; Gordon, Danns, Gakpo

 

5. Players to watch for Saints

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, April 5, 2019: Southampton's Jan Bednarek during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at the St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Southampton lost a hot of key players when they were relegated last May, including James Ward-Prowse and Romeo Lavia, but there are still individuals who can trouble Liverpool.

Adam Armstrong has arguably been the pick of his side’s players this season, scoring 16 goals and registering 11 assists in the Championship, adding end product to his searing pace.

Adams is back from injury and is likely to feature prominently at Anfield, scoring once against the Reds in the past.

Saints did well to keep hold of Kyle Walker-Peters last year, with the full-back capable of playing in the Premier League, offering defensive solidity and attacking quality.

Stuart Armstrong is also an experienced head in the middle of the park, while Jan Bednarek remains a key figure at the heart of the defence.

Former Newcastle and Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser is out injured.

 

6. A parade, you say? Klopp will be there!

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Klopp admitted he would love to be part of another parade at the end of the season:

“That’s the one part this is not so cool, that it could be seen as [a farewell], I don’t think that makes sense.

“But besides that, I am the biggest supporter of trophy parades. I don’t decide that, people might be surprised, and these types of things have to be prepared from different points of view.

“But if there is a parade, I will be on the bus, no doubt about that!”

How emotional is that going to be, assuming it happens!

 

7. Southampton’s record at Anfield

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 12, 2022: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Southampton have found life tough at Anfield in recent years, with their last victory there coming in the League Cup semi-final second leg in 2017.

Since then, Liverpool have won six of the seven meetings with Saints, all of which came in the Premier League.

The aggregate score in that time was 19-1 to the Reds, with Southampton‘s only successful result a goalless draw late in the 2016/17 season, when James Milner had a penalty saved.

A certain Van Dijk was even powerless to do anything in a 3-0 win for Liverpool in 2017/18, just before his move north.

The last meeting between the Reds and Saints was on the final day of last season, as the two teams shared a 4-4 draw at St Mary’s, in what was Roberto Firmino‘s last-ever game for the club.

 

8. Did You Know?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp lines-up before the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have been a joy to watch ever since Klopp arrived in 2015, with some of the football on show unrivalled across Europe.

The Reds have now scored 994 goals under the German, highlighting their free-flowing brilliance, as they close in on the big 1000-goal landmark.

The question is: when will they reach that milestone?

Wednesday’s match certainly acts as a good chance to add to their tally, despite the injuries, and the same applies to the trips to Nottingham Forest and Sparta Prague coming up.

If not, how about that 1000th goal being a Salah stunner in front of the Kop against Man City next month!

 

9. Craig Pawson under the spotlight

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 28, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks with the fourth official Craig Pawson during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Craig Pawson will referee Wednesday’s game, as he looks to fare better than Chris Kavanagh did at Wembley.

It’s fair to say Kavanagh won’t be receiving a Christmas card from Klopp later this year!

This will only be the second Liverpool game that Pawson has taken charge of this season – the other being the 2-0 win at home to Everton in the Premier League.

That match saw him send off Ashley Young for two yellow cards before half-time, as well as award the Reds a penalty in the second half.

 

10. Follow the match with TIA

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: A general view before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Southampton is live on ITV One from 7.30pm (UK) on Wednesday, with kickoff at 8pm.

The draw for the next round also takes place before kickoff at Anfield so one to keep an eye on!

As an alternative, Henry Jackson will be in charge of TIA’s live blog matchday from 7.15pm, providing regular, biased, updates from Anfield.

Keep that quadruple dream alive, Reds!