Southampton vs Liverpool preview: Points vital for both in Sky Sports clash
Watch Southampton vs Liverpool live on Sky Sports from 7pm on Friday; kick-off at 8pm
Last Updated: 05/04/19 8:25pm
Southampton and Liverpool are both in vital need of points when they meet in the Premier League on Friday, live on Sky Sports.
The Reds can go back to the top of the table should they win on Friday Night Football, currently trailing Manchester City - who are in FA Cup semi-final action this weekend - by a point.
It is a different story for Southampton, who are five points clear of the relegation places with two spots already taken by Huddersfield and Fulham. They are level with Brighton and Burnley on 33 points, and will be hoping to make an early break away from their rivals.
But the Saints have won three of their past four league matches and that has made Klopp wary ahead of the trip to St Mary's.
"I have to say the job he [Ralph Hasenhuttl] is doing there is incredible. He brought young players in, academy players, a pretty brave decision," said Klopp.
"It's a really good side and the analysis was really interesting because it doesn't look like a team that fights to stay in the league.
"The games they lost, they were unlucky rather than playing bad, I would say. I think they are eighth in the form table, last 15 games at least, so that means they are fighting for the league and that gives you good information about the intensity of the game probably."
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has also warned his side they are not safe from relegation yet.
"We know how tough it is and there are still a lot of points to get, so we have to stay focused," he said. "There is still a long way to go and the sooner we get to 40 points the better."
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been passed fit to face his former club. The centre-back sustained a knock to his ankle in the 2-1 win over Tottenham but has trained this week without any issues.
Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are back in full training but are unlikely to be included yet.
Shane Long and Jannik Vestergaard could return for Southampton after missing last week's win over Brighton with groin problems but both are back in training.
Danny Ings cannot play against his parent club while Mario Lemina and Michael Obafemi are still injured.
Southampton are winless in their last five Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D2 L3), failing to score each time.
Liverpool have won their last three Premier League games against Southampton - they've never won four in a row against Saints in their league history.
Southampton have won five of their 10 Premier League games against Liverpool at St Mary's - they've only beaten Everton more often at the ground in the competition (6).
This will be Southampton's first top-flight home game on a Friday since December 1991 (1-1 vs Notts County) with all five of their such games in the Premier League coming away from home (W1 D2 L2).
Liverpool have won five of their last six Premier League games on a Friday (D1) since a 2-4 loss at Arsenal in April 2004.
Southampton are looking to win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since May 2016 (a run of four).
Liverpool have conceded just nine goals in 16 away league games this season, the joint-fewest along with Man City. In fact, they've shipped more than once on one occasion on the road this season, in what was their only league defeat so far in 2018-19 (1-2 vs Man City).
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Southampton, netting four goals in total.
Mohamed Salah hasn't scored in any of his last eight appearances in all competitions for Liverpool - his longest run without a goal since a run of 10 games with Roma between November 2015 and January 2016.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp won the only previous meeting between him and Southampton's Ralph Hasenhüttl, with Klopp's Borussia Dortmund beating VfR Aalen 4-1 in a German Cup match in October 2012.
I watched Liverpool last week against Tottenham and was screaming at the TV because you were thinking 'don't lose, if you lose that's it'.
I was in the position many years ago with Arsenal when we played Wimbledon in our last home game and we drew 2-2 and it could have gone any way that game. In the end by drawing 2-2 it meant we had to go to Liverpool and win by two clear goals. If we hadn't drawn that game and had lost we couldn't have won the league. I was watching Liverpool and thinking 'just take the point, you haven't been good today and there's a long way to go in the title race'.
It's been so long for Liverpool and I think they need Manchester United to keep winning. I don't think United's loss in midweek helped them because United fans don't want Liverpool to win the league but they also want to get top four. If they lose a couple more games before playing Manchester City on April 24 then that changes things.
I think Liverpool win this game. They had a result and a bit of luck last weekend with a World Cup-winning goalkeeper dropping a ball my four-year-old would have caught, and I think they take advantage in this game and go top again.
MERSE PREDICTS: 1-2