As the battle for top-four places intensifies in the Premier League, live contenders Southampton and Liverpool face off at St Mary’s in something of a grudge fixture, after the latter raided the former for three players last summer.
The Reds also have a few problems in house after Jordan Henderson and Mario Balotelli’s penalty spat in the 1-0 win over Besiktas. We’ve put the three stories set to play out on the south coast under the news.bwin.com microscope:
Will any of visitors’ £50m returning trio come back to haunt St Mary’s?
The joke went round about Nathaniel Clyne being next on Brendan Rodgers’ Saints hit-list after the right-back scored in Liverpool’s lucky 2-1 win over Ronald Koeman’s side at Anfield on the opening day of the Premier League campaign
Adam Lallana, having left on a sour note, has arguably done well; the England man has only been on the losing side once in his past 13 starts, and has made the XI for five of Liverpool’s last eight matches, of which they’ve won four. He’s 13/4 to bag a sixth goal for his new club.
Rickie Lambert probably should have stayed, ditto Dejan Lovren; between them they’ve started just once in Liverpool’s past 16 games.
Who’s taking Liverpool’s penalties?
You can have 3/1 with bwin.com about there being exactly one spot kick in the match, which looks decent considering two of the last three fixtures featuring the Reds saw this outcome occur.
With that in mind, Henderson looks value to score at 4/1, considering Balotelli is highly unlikely to be in from the off (he hasn’t started any match since early November).
After the kerfuffle against Besiktas, Henderson should be back on penalty-taking duty for most of the match, unless injury provokes Balotelli’s or Lambert’s early introductions.
Can Saints’ goalscorers get going again?
Graziano Pelle is on a run of nine goalless games in the Premier League, having bagged nine in his first 13 all-competition appearances of the campaign.
The big Italian has to start scoring again eventually and is 2/1 to do so here, but the interesting candidate among the Saints ranks is Sadio Mane, who has come up with a startling four first goals in his past six games, albeit with an African Cup of Nations interval included.
At 13/2, Mane is outstanding value to break the deadlock.