And welcome to coverage of tonight’s match between Southampton, Liverpool’s favourite recruiting ground, and the League and FA Cup-winners who are four points behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and have two games to play, tonight’s and against Wolves at Anfield on Sunday, to the reigning champions’ one. Lose here and City will win their fourth Premier League title in five years and sixth in the past decade. A victory or a draw for Jurgen Klopp’s Red Men, who lost on their last visit to St Mary’s in January 2021 by virtue of Danny Ings’ second-minute goal, keeps the race alive until Sunday and force City, in the words of Kevin Keegan, “to get something” against Aston Villa, Steven Gerrard, Gary McAllister, Philippe Coutinho and Ings.
Southampton, who have won one, drawn two and lost seven of their last 10 games, have finally exploded the notion that their manager, Ralph Hasenhuttl, is fireproof. He rode out the 9-0s, for which he faced relatively mild criticism compared with some of his peers for not quite so severe shellackings, but dissent at last erupted towards the end of their grisly 3-0 defeat at Brentford 10 days ago when away fans united with a few home wags to bellow out ‘Sacked in the morning’. There has been so much rotation, particularly in the forward positions, that the travelling Saints’ damning ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ was entirely understandable if not justified.
Hasenhuttl has only Tino Livramento unavailable and should recall Oriol Romeu and Che Adams after the chastening Brentford trip. Fabinho is out for Liverpool until the Champions League Final, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah will not be risked until Sunday, if even then, and Klopp is sure to rest key players, hinting at up to seven changes, including both full-backs, Jordan Henderson, Thiago and at least two of the three forward positions. Join us at 6.45pm for the team news.