Southampton vs. Liverpool
The second semi-final match of the English League Cup certainly attracts a lot of attention, because it is played between two teams that are currently in the top half of the Premier League table, but Southampton is lately fell to 10th place while Liverpool is in great second, and they after 20 rounds have 20 points more than the “Saints”. But it is interesting that the “Saints” were somewhat better in the last three championship matches and after the visiting draw 1-1, they made a victory and a draw at home, while the Reds only last year in the League Cup came to convincing win of 6-1 away.
Of course that this debacle from last season, is now supposed to be just an additional motive for the players of Southampton to revenge their rivals from Liverpool in the semi-finals of this competition and thus after a long time get the opportunity to fight for a trophy. However, in order to come to a favourable result in the first semi-final League Cup match on Wednesday night, coach Puel’s players must show a much better game than in the previous three championship matches, in which they made as many defeats, which immediately led to their fall to 10th place in the standings.
In addition, they played only 2-2 away with Norwich last weekend in the third round of the FA Cup, with the proviso that Puel then shuffled cards a little bit when it comes to composition, all of course with the aim to rest some of his key players for the more important encounter in the League Cup. As for the problems with absences, goalkeeper McCarthy, defenders Gardos and Targett, midfielders Pied and Boufal and striker Austin are all out of action due to injuries, while defender Fonte got suspended by coach Puel.
Probable lineups Southampton: Forster – Soares, van Dijk, Yoshida, Bertrand – Davis, Romeu, Clasie – Redmond, Rodriguez, Tadic
As for the guests from Liverpool, they are welcoming this first semi-final match of the League Cup after two slightly worse performances, given that they first played 2-2 away in the championship against “drowning” Sunderland, and then they last weekend unexpectedly blundered in the third round of the FA Cup, when they at their Anfield played only 0-0 with Plymouth. However, we must know that coach Klopp sent a very young team to the field in that match, in which the more famous names were goalkeeper Karius, defenders Leiva and Moreno, midfielder Can and striker Origi, while the rest of the players were mainly members of the junior team of Liverpool.
But, on the other hand, their key players will now be rested for the match against the always unpleasant Southampton, so only goalkeeper Karius and midfielder Can will be the same names in the composition which performed in the FA Cup on Wednesday night. Otherwise, defender Matip, midfielders Henderson and Coutinho and striker Ings are still absent because of injuries, while the fleet-footed striker Mane has recently travelled to the African Cup of Nations.
Probable lineups Liverpool: Karius – Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner – Can, Lucas, Wijnaldum – Firmino, Sturridge, Lallana
Given that both teams are a bit tired due to these performances on more fronts, we must also bear in mind that they will only a week from now play a rematch at Anfield, so it is the most realistic to expect a cautious game from both coaches in this first semi-final League Cup match