1 Mar 2014

LFC vs. So'ton: Coutinho/Sterling to be dropped? 'Hurt' £15m star with 'point to prove'?

Liverpool face Southampton at St. Mary's today, and if the Reds can win, they'll leapfrog Manchester City into third place in the table, and deliver a statement of Premier League title intent that's hard to ignore.

On the injury front, both Lucas and Mamadou Sakho are making progress, but Jose Enrique is still nowhere near a return.

As confirmed by Brendan Rodgers on Thursday, Daniel Agger will definitely start today's game, and after being subbed off in the 63rd minute of last week's win over Swansea, the pressure is on for the Dane to deliver a good performance. Anfield legend Jan Molby believes his fellow countryman has a 'point to prove' today. He told the Liverpool Echo:

"Swansea will have hurt him. I thought it was a strange decision but Agger has to take it on the chin. I firmly believe he’s still a top class defender. There are other centre-backs at the club who either aren’t quite ready or their best days are behind them".

It could be argued that Agger falls into the category of a defender with his 'best days behind him'. He's repeatedly been done for pace this season, and often doesn't seem to have the stomach for a physical battle (hence being subbed last week).

The big issue for Rodgers this week is midfield: Given Southampton's pressing game, will he spring a selection surprise and go with Joe Allen alongside Gerrard and Hendo, or will he stick with Coutinho/Sterling?

Starting Allen would (IMO) be a negative move, and would show that Rodgers is worried about Southampton, but given their poor recent form, there's no reason to hand the Saints a psychological advantage. Their players will fear Sterling or Coutinho far more than Allen, and both players are a significantly greater goal threat.

As such, I believe we'll see the following team:

--------------- Mignolet

Flanagan ------ Skrtel --- Agger ----- Johnson

-------------- Gerrard -- Hendo

----------------- Coutinho

----- Sterling ------------ Suarez

----------------- Sturridge

Pre-match analysis from ex-Reds:

Jan Molby

"We are going to have to defend better at St Mary’s because it will be a tough game. We’ve found it really difficult against Southampton in the past. It’s okay saying it’s because they press us high up the pitch but we struggled against them before they even started playing that style under Mauricio Pochettino"

Mark Lawrenson

"I really fancy Liverpool to go and win this. They can play at such a terrific pace and the opposition just cannot cope. Forget about Liverpool's defensive difficulties because they keep winning games even when they concede goals"

Jamie Redknapp

"They [Southampton] are going to want to play a high line and press. but if they do that they are going to leave a lot of space in behind for Sturridge and Sterling to run in behind. It will be fascinating to see how that tactical battle unfolds. I'm going for Liverpool just to edge it 2-1".

My prediction: 3-1 to Liverpool.



  1. Every week people say if Liverpool win this they are title contenders! This might go until the last game. Wenger and Mourinho trying hard to throw pressure on us, by saying they have a big advantage etc. This is quite annoying but you cant shut their mouths. Anyway I see goals in this game, 2-2 for me.

  2. If we win and arsenal lose, we can go 2nd due to goal difference right?

  3. Come on. Where is Cissokho ? He could be the answer for our defensive problems. He is far more better in defensive.

  4. With the Saints at home they will have to get men forward. Their defence will be somewhat unprotected at times.. cue SSS to take advantage. Our attack is tailor made to play on the counter, an entertaining LFC win is on the cards.

  5. This is a big game in some ways more for Rodgers than it is for Liverpool as Mauricio Pochettino has done a number on him tactics wise on the previous two occasions. I think Rodgers will get a tremendous confidence boost if he gets it right today and it set liverpool up for Gerard Houllier's term "10 games from greatness"

  6. We have kept springing many surprises this season when no one expects , tottenham ,arsenal, everton ,this team will surely produce a surprise today.I'm sure we won't take things lying down come on lads bring home the three points .Cheers

  7. Suarez is due for a Hat Trick to make up for his drought - plus an assist for sturridge to continue his streak. 4-2, defense to let something slip.

  8. Mr. Point Of View2:51 pm, March 01, 2014

    drop flano play Raheem at RWB then problem solve !

  9. I agree with your line up; if it's not broke, don't fix it and all that. If, by 60mins we're leading comfortably then I'd sub Allen for Coutinho to make us more solid and less likely to concede possession. But otherwise, we need our most attacking players on the pitch for swift counter-attacks.