Sky Sports pundit predicts Liverpool clash against Southampton
By Harvey Byrne
Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has tipped Liverpool to run out emphatic victors against Southampton on Wednesday evening.
The Reds are preparing to host the Saints at Anfield, where they will also be looking to close a 1-0 goal deficit suffered in the first leg.
A goal from Nathan Redmond is currently the difference between the two sides, but the Reds will be aware that all can change over 90 minutes.
Former Arsenal man Nicholas believes Jurgen Klopp’s side have enough to bring the tie back in their favour and has predicted them to run out 3-1 victors.
“People will look at what Swansea did and think Southampton are a far better side so have a good chance, but the sign of a big side is that they produce a big reaction to that sort of result,” told Nicholas to the Sky Sports website.
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“Philippe Coutinho has more minutes under his belt and Roberto Firmino is back in the goals, while Joel Matip, who is Liverpool’s best central defender, will surely come in to shore up their defence.
“Rather than bring in Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi, I think they should play Lucas and shift everybody up the pitch.
“Sturridge is struggling for that change of pace that makes him a special footballer and he’s dwindling towards the exit door for me. I think he’ll still make a contribution to their season but he’s not a key ingredient to Jurgen Klopp’s team.
“I will imagine Virgil van Dijk will struggle to make it, although Southampton keep that close to their chests. You rarely see a player come off on Sunday and play on Wednesday.
“If Southampton get through the first 25-30 minutes then they’ve got a chance, but I just think Liverpool are going to come out of the blocks with the anger and emotion of the Anfield crowd behind them.”
Liverpool are walking into the clash on the back of a shock 3-2 defeat against relegation battling Swansea at home on the weekend.
Klopp’s team have struggled in recent matches with their only victory from their last six matches in all competitions coming against League Two Plymouth in the FA Cup.
Meanwhile, Southampton have won three of their last four matches, conceding just one goals and they will be keen to continue their good form.
A two goal win for Liverpool will see them head to Wembley, while the Saints will know a draw would be enough to see them into the final.
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