EFL Semi Final: Southampton V Liverpool
20:00 KO at St Mary’s. Available on Sky Sports One HD
This evening sees the 2nd of the semi finals first leg between The Saints and The Reds.
Southampton have not won a game in their last 4 in all competitions including a draw away at Norwich earlier in the week in the F.A Cup, prior to that draw they had lost 3 in a row in the Premier League.
The Saints will be pleased to see both right-backs who missed the Norwich game through injury return to the squad. Charlie Austin, Matt Targett and Jose Fonte are ruled out for the clash.
Claude Puel’s men are yet to concede a goal in this seasons EFL Cup and that is exactly what they need again in the first leg if they want the advantage going into the 2nd leg in two weeks time at Anfield. If they can keep a clean sheet and hope to nick a goal they will really fancy the trip to Anfield but if they concede in this first leg then it will more than likely mean advantage to The Reds.
Not only that, but they have a spring in their step coming from their last EFL game, knocing out big guns Arsenal in a 2 – 0 victory to get through to the semi finals.
Southampton have never won the league cup and have only ever reach the final once in 1979 when they lost 3-2 to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. These Saint’s players really do have a chance to make history for the club.
They do however come up against the most successful club in the history of the league cup, Liverpool have won it no fewer than 8 times and finished runners up 4 times. No other side has reached the final more than 8 times and the reds will look to continue their dominance in the league cup.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are unbeaten in their last 7 games in all competitions, however they might have hit a little blip of late following draws against relegation contenders Sunderland in the league and league 2’s Plymouth Argyle in the F.A Cup.
So far though this season they are surpassing even the most hardened Kopites expectations, they are in 2nd in the league and still in both of the cups which is a fantastic first half of the season.
The biggest loss for Liverpool going into the match is the loss of their top scorer Sadio Mane to the African Cup of nations. Captain Jordan Henderson and centre-half Joel Matip are also expected to miss out as they are both battling for fitness. A big boost for the reds is the return of their “magician” Philippe Coutinho who is back in contention after 2 months on the side lines.
Despite being away from home Liverpool are favourites to win tonight’s tie @5/4 which is the best price with William Hills. You can back Southampton @13/5 with Boylesports and the Draw is @5/2 best with Bet365.
To qualify for the final you can back Liverpool best price with Ladbrokes @4/11 and Southampton are @5/2 with Boylesports.
With Liverpool missing some of it’s firepower and Southampton’s recent poor form I fancy Under 2.5 goals in the game which is best @4/5 with most of the firms.