Date: August 17, 2014
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool
Kick-off time: 1.30 pm BST
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Liverpool get their Premier League season underway with a home game against last season’s overachievers in Southampton. The Saints pulled off the upset at Anfield last season with a 1-0 win.
Liverpool’s form: W-L-W-W(D)
Liverpool’s pre-season form has been strong, with a particularly impressive 4-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in their last friendly.
Liverpool are only fifth favourites to win the league according to the bookies, but the ambitious Brendan Rodgers will believe that with the many signings he has made, the club can mount another title challenge, and that’s despite selling Luis Suarez.
Southampton’s form: L-W-W-W
Many are tipping Southampton to struggle this season after losing their manager and selling no fewer than five players, four of whom were first-teamers.
Southampton’s pre-season included five wins, although those were all against lower league opposition. Their last game, however, was a 1-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.
Key Players/Team News
Liverpool signed three players from Southampton in the off-season and it is one of those quirks of the fixture computer that they are paired together in the first game.
Adam Lallana is injured, although Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren – who scored Southampton’s winner in last season’s fixture – could feature, with the former more likely to start on the bench as Daniel Sturridge leads the line.
Philippe Coutinho was superb in the match against Dortmund, and will be expected to produce the creativity in the absence of Suarez.
Southampton’s fate will depend heavily on how their new recruits take to life in England, not least new manager Ronald Koeman.
Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle were prolific in the Eredivisie last season, scoring 16 and 23 times for Twente and Feyenoord respectively. They will need to replicate that form since Jay Rodriguez is out injured.
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has been intimating he may not make himself available to play as he tries to push through a move to Tottenham.
Liverpool look good for the win and are available at 1.36 but it’s a short price for an opening day fixture. I do expect Liverppol to win well here however and so take them with with a -1 handicap at a cracking price of evens.
Liverpool -1 to beat Southampton at 2.0 with SkyBet