THE Premier League continues on Sunday as Southampton host Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium. Dan McCulloch (@danmcc84) shares his picks.
Southampton v Liverpool| Sunday 11th February 2018, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Southampton entertain Liverpool on Sunday afternoon in a match which is sure to stoke the tensions of the home fans. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren could all line up against their former side but it will be the presence of Virgil Van Dijk that will most rile Saints supporters.
The Dutchman’s determination to join Liverpool was well known for some time before he eventually moved to the Merseyside club and he will not be expecting a good reception on his first return to Saint Mary’s.
Van Dijk’s presence will likely contribute to a good atmosphere on the south coast but even without the likely needle between the two sides, I would suggest that this will be a very tough afternoon for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
I watched Southampton at first hand last week and I came away from their visit to The Hawthorns in utter shock as to how they find themselves in a relegation dogfight.
Their troubles in front are well-known, with Shane Long, Manolo Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin all struggling for form or fitness but new signing Guido Carrillo does look like a good addition and in Sofiane Boufal, James Ward-Prowse and Mario Lemina, Dusan Tadic, they possess one of the most technically gifted midfields in the Premier League.
Indeed, talent-wise I do believe that they should be competing to be the ‘Best of the Rest' (i.e. seventh). Southampton have certainly been competitive against the top-six at home this season. They were unfortunate to lose 1-0 to Manchester United, whilst they drew 1-1 with Arsenal and Tottenham.
I wouldn’t rule out the latter result occurring again but 7/1 is just too short to get me interested.
While much has been said and written about Liverpool’s defensive issues, there is no doubt that they are an entertaining watch. If I was to pick my favourite games to watch this season, I would struggle to beat either their game against Arsenal just before Christmas or Manchester City a few weeks ago.
In Mohamed Salah they have arguably the signing of the season and it is the Egyptian who features in my first tip. The Anytime Goalscorer market is one I tend to leave alone but given that Salah has scored in 16 of his 25 matches this season (eight of 12 away from home), I like the look of the 11/10 Bet365 are offering on him finding the net.
The second bet I like is for Liverpool to win and Over 2.5 Goals to be scored in the match, which is available at 31/20 with BetVictor. As already outlined, I believe that this will be a very difficult game for Klopp’s men but cannot ignore their record on their travels.
They have won seven of their ten games away to sides outside of the top-six and all seven of these games have featured three goals or more. The stats suggest that this bet is value and I also wouldn’t put anyone off a 2-1 scoreline!