Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Friday September 20 2013
As part of Vital Liverpool's buildup to the Premier League clash with Southampton we've interviewed a Saints fan for their thoughts on the game...
Tomorrow's visit of Southampton to Anfield sees the hosts looking to continue their impressive start to the new season.
The visitors enjoyed an emphatic 3-1 win when the two sides met at St Mary's in March but the Reds did edge the corresponding fixture 1-0 last season.
So who will have the upper hand come the final whistle this time? Here's what the good folk from Vital Southampton had to say:
Q. How has your season started?
It depends on how you look at things really I think. We are nicely midtable - not stuck at the bottom, and not adrift of the leading clubs by much. Out of the opening four games, we've only - unluckily - lost one, and had we won the other two it wouldn't have been totally unfair on the opposition really.
We are creating chances and good ones, but we just aren't getting the luck when it comes to finishing them which would be the main concern really, but again it's early days, and there are a number of new players in the team who are yet to bed in properly, so it's certainly nothing to panic about.
Especially when you compare it to our start last season, so it's positive overall for what we hope to achieve.
Q. What are your hopes for the season as a whole?
It's about surviving in the league again, and hopefully pushing on in terms of points and league places so it's not quite as tight as it was last term. 14th looked comfortable but it was only two or so games that made the difference really. If we can make that four or five odd games this season in terms of a gap I think many fans would be very happy with that, as obviously it would put us in a good position to really try and kick on next season with the likes of Osvaldo, Lovren, Wanyama then having 12 months under their belts, understanding the system better and knowing the league more.
Q. Where exactly do you see yourselves finishing in the league?
I'd be delighted with anywhere around 10th place as positive growth on last season. I'm not sure that we can make a genuine run on the top ten positions this season, but it's not impossible if we really click early in the season and maintain some consistency, but I'm happy with steady growth rather than dramatic growth that raises expectation levels too high too quick.
Q. Who are the Southampton player(s) we should look out for?
Lovren looks like a rock in defence, even though he has more adjustment to do.
It looks like we could have a real gem on our hands in Osvaldo once he settles properly; quick, has a brain and a good touch but he isn't quite up to speed yet.
Wanyama is a monster of a midfielder, and has already won two of our Man of the Match polls with his performances. Again, once he really adjusts to the league he's going to dominate the centre of the park more often than not.
As for the others you should be wary of, you'll know them well in terms Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Morgan Schneiderlin mainly.
Q. What have you made of Liverpool so far this season?
Very surprised to see it come together so quickly for this season with how you stuttered last time round. You must be chuffed to have won three of your opening four and be sitting top of the league at the moment.
I have to be honest and say I'm certainly not expecting you to be there come the end of the season, but if you can maintain your consistency I'd think given your start, you certainly have a chance of a Europa League spot come the end of the season, which isn't something I thought you could achieve this year. As said last time round, that should certainly be applauded if Rodgers can manage it this year, but I really thought it would take longer and your start has taken me a little by surprise.
Q. Where do you see us finishing in the league?
As said I think you may have a chance of the top six depending on your consistency and luck with injuries, but a solid top eight again could almost be guaranteed.
Q. Which Liverpool player(s) do you rate the most and why?
I've taken a real shine to Daniel Sturridge. I spent quite a while thinking he was mainly just all hype and looked good every now and then on the highlights real, but he's really stepped up of late and all credit to him.
Q. What is your probable line up for the game?
I'm not aware of any additional injuries as I write this so given the performance against West Ham, I'd be surprised if Pochettino didn't keep faith them. Luke Shaw appears to have recovered sufficiently to be in contention after he was substituted in our last match, but he may be the only change if Poch decides not to risk him.
Boruc; Clyne, Lovren, Fonte, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Lallana;Rodriguez, Lambert, Osvaldo
Q. How do you think you can be successful against Liverpool?
We've just got to stick to our own game plan, and play to our strengths. As said we have been creating plenty of chances but we just haven't been taking them.
If we can change that we'll more than give you a game, especially as we are now far more solid in defence than we were last season.
Q. What's your prediction for the result?
Much as I hate to admit, I feel we'll fair a little bit better in front of goal in terms of taking our chances this time round, but I think you'll nick it near the death and we'll end up feeling gutted as you won't have deserved it on the balance of the game.
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Date:Friday September 20 2013
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Liverpool: Reds/Bolton At Palace In FA Cup (Monday January 26 2015)
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