Liverpool square off against their feeder club Southampton on Sunday in what is surely the most exciting race for fourth since the biblical tale of John’s epic race.
The Lord said unto John: “Come forth and receive eternal life.” But alas, John came fifth and won a toaster.
Let’s look at some facts and see if we can make any sense of them. The last five outings between the two sides has given us two Southampton wins and three Liverpool wins.
Based on putting a tenner on each game this season, here’s how you could be looking:
- 1-0 to Southampton is their most profitable score at €88 – excluding of course their 8-0 demolition of Sunderland – that would have you up a tidy €2,385!
- Liverpool’s defence has paled in comparison, winning to nil just five times – you would be down -€8 for backing Liverpool 1-0 each week
I know, right? Where’s Captain Hindsight when you need him?
— SaintsFC FanZone (@SaintsFCFanZone) February 19, 2015
In all competitions Southampton have kept a clean sheet 13 times, whereas Liverpool have managed 10. Not as big a gap as you would have first thought. The difference is that Southampton have done it against teams like Arsenal and United. Liverpool have done it against Burnley and eh… Bolton.
Southampton clearly win the defensive battle.
Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama are both in the top five for most fouls committed, while poor old Raheem Sterling is the second most fouled player this season. We’re getting visions of free kicks.
WAIT! I’ve got one more… With Rickie Lambert one of the most-subbed-on players, and the magician Philippe Coutinho one of the most subbed off. Yeah, you can work that one out.
What of their attacks, I hear you say. Well kids it wouldn’t really be fair to analyse them when Liverpool’s best striker, Daniel Sturridge, has been out for so long. Of course not, but we’ll do it anyway. Southampton have scored the least amount of goals within the top six, in fact they’ve only scored two more than West Ham.
Pelle is convinced that he’s better looking than Ronaldo… be nice if he was less concerned about scoring like him off the pitch, and more concerned about scoring like him on the pitch.
No matter what Pelle does in the game, his hair remains impeccable.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 1, 2015
Liverpool have won 78% of their games with Sturridge, and only 38% without. No shit Sherlock, but the Sturridge effect has even rubbed off on Mario Balotelli. The man has two goals from his last three games. So maybe with Liverpool unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions, and Southampton having only won once in their last four… could the race for fourth be about to get tighter than a fat guy in spandex.