Southampton welcome Liverpool to St Mary’s Stadium this evening as they look to take the advantage in the EFL Cup semi-final.
The tie is to be decided over two legs, with the second leg being played at Anfield, so Saints really do need to make their home comforts count this evening when they welcome Jurgen Klopp’s side.
So, to get a better insight to how Liverpool are shaping up ahead of the match, I spoke to Read Liverpool editor Ste Hoare about the game this evening.
What have you made of Liverpool’s season so far?
On the whole, we’ve been great. We’ve had the odd hiccup along the way but for the most part. we’ve been excellent. We attack better than any team in the country and we’re starting to get the defence sorted too, although we aren’t there yet. Second in the league and in semi-final is more than we all expected.
How seriously do you think Klopp views the EFL Cup?
Even in the quarter final, the manager played a changed team. He used the early game against Burton Albion to play a full strength side as he wanted them to start gelling, but other than that, he’s been happy to use the squad players. He’ll pick a full strength side tonight, though.
What kind of approach do you see Liverpool taking to tonight’s game?
Same as always, really. We’ll press and hurry when Saints have the ball and we’ll look to attack in numbers.
Is there any Saints player you’re particularly worried about?
Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte played really well in the 0-0 league game, but Fonte obviously won’t be playing which could help us. Attacking wise, it’s tough to say. Saints haven’t looked too sharp recently but anyone with pace, like Nathan Redmond, could cause a few issues to our rather slow defence.
How big a loss will Sadio Mane be?
Huge. He’s been so good since he arrived. His pace is a serious weapon and teams have to change how they play against us when he’s on the pitch. I’m amazed how good he’s been actually. £30m is looking like a bargain!
What’s your score prediction?
I think we’ll win. Southampton’s defence looks much weaker than it did a few months back and we have the talent on the pitch to take advantage. I’ll guess 3-1.
I’d like to thank Ste for taking the time out to answer my questions ahead of the game.