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Southampton v Liverpool: Victory would affirm Reds' title tilt, says Jamie Redknapp

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 28th February 2014 view comments

Liverpool's trip to Southampton will give us a real indication of what Brendan Rodgers' side can achieve in the final part of the season.

Of the title contenders, only Chelsea have gone to St Mary's and won, so if Liverpool get three points there on Saturday we'll have to say they're not just capable of finishing in the top four but they might just surprise everyone and win the Premier League as well.

Sterling: Has been a 'revelation', says Jamie Redknapp

Sterling: Has been a 'revelation', says Jamie Redknapp

And that would be an incredible turn around for a team which in the past 10 seasons have finished an average of 22 points behind the champions.

Going forward they've been a joy to watch this term. This team is full of pace and Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling - who has been performing fantastically well - deserve plenty of plaudits.

I've enjoyed the form of Jordan Henderson. He's a young man who has taken a lot of stick but has worked hard to prove he's capable of playing in this Liverpool side.

Jamie Redknapp
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Sterling's form has somewhat been overshadowed by the goals of Sturridge and Suarez but he's been a revelation - the pass he hit the other day for Liverpool's opener against Swansea was world class.

Philippe Coutinho has also been impressive, while I've enjoyed the form of Jordan Henderson because he's a young man who has taken a lot of stick but has worked hard and had to prove every day in training that he's capable of playing in this Liverpool side.

Kenny Dalglish saw the potential in him but when Rodgers arrived at Anfield it seemed the former Sunderland midfielder could be on his way.

Sometimes as a player, though, you have to force your way into the reckoning and show the manager what you're capable of. It takes time because people have pre-conceived ideas about you and first impressions last. I'm sure Rodgers thought 'he runs around, he's a good athlete but has he got enough guile in his game?'

Well, he's proved he has. He's scoring goals, he's making goals and I'm really pleased for him. When I speak to Steven Gerrard he says he's a fantastic trainer and he deserves all the success he's getting at the moment.

On Thursday Henderson was named in Roy Hodgson's England squad to play in the friendly with Denmark, and he's forced himself into contention for a place on the plane to Brazil, too. At the start of the year I'd have given him no chance of making the World Cup squad because I didn't think he was capable of doing what he is.

Jamie is backing Liverpool to beat Southampton 2-1 at 8/1 with Sky Bet

However, like Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal, Henderson has knuckled down and come to the fore this season.

Blitz

My only worry for Liverpool - and it's been a worry all season, really - is their defence. Only Newcastle in the top 11 have conceded more than Liverpool's 35 against.

However, they give themselves a chance because they score so many early goals. They really start out fast, blitz teams - and the 46 goals they've scored in the first-half of games this season is a new Premier League record.

Southampton are going to have to contend with that on Saturday Night Football. They 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 because of the way they're playing at the moment; their confidence is high and they are capable of picking Southampton off to get revenge for their 1-0 defeat at Anfield earlier in the season.

They'll have to be on top of their game though, because with the likes of England call-ups Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert, Southampton have the capability to hurt Liverpool - as they've done to fellow title hopefuls Manchester City and Arsenal in this campaign.

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