International

Preview: Southampton v Liverpool

2017-01-11 09:12
Philippe Coutinho (Getty Images)

Southampton - Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing draw in the FA Cup when they travel to St Mary's to take on Southampton in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final first-leg on Wednesday.

The Reds put out the youngest team, in any competition, in the history of the club over the weekend against Plymouth Argyle in the third round of the FA Cup and, despite claiming 80% of the possession throughout the entire match, were held to a 0-0 draw by the League 2 side.

While many of the club's youngsters put in impressive performances, manager Jurgen Klopp is clearly keen to avoid a repeat as he revealed in his pre-match press conference that some of their most experienced players would be returning to the starting lineup, including both Philippe Coutinho and James Milner.

"I think Phil is fit enough to be a big part of the squad. (It) means there could be minutes. It depends on the game," the Liverpool manager said.

"It's been six or seven weeks. It's long. But no final decision has been made until now.

"I think (it was) the third complete session, tomorrow is the fourth. Milly, no issues anymore.

Unfortunately, club captain Jordan Henderson looks set to miss out again, but his return is not far off either.

"Hendo, on a very good way, he's really mentally strong. It's still painful, but he's doing well," Klopp added.

"We'll see what we can do with him. Hopefully Thursday he'll be in team training."

Unfortunately, star forward Saido Mane will play no part in the match as he is away on international duty with Senegal for the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, but Adam Lallana, Robert Firmino and Daniel Sturridge are all expected to start the match.

Southampton face somewhat of an injury crisis ahead of the match with Sofiane Boufal (knee), Charlie Austin (shoulder), Matty Targett (hamstring) and Jeremy Pied (knee) all set to miss out because of injury, while Cedric Soares and Jay Rodriguez face late fitness tests.

The Saints will also be without star defender and captain Jose Fonte, who has been benched after handing in a transfer request last week.

Liverpool are definitely in the better form of the two clubs and are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions, while Southampton have only won one of their last five.

Both teams will be looking for a positive result ahead of the deciding leg at Anfield in two weeks, but anything less than a win for the Saints will surely make it all but impossible for them to qualify for the final.

Kick off is at 21:45.

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