Liverpool seek return to EPL summit against tricky Saints at St Mary’s

By AGENCIES… Southampton and Liverpool are both in vital need of points when they meet in the Premier League on Friday.

The Reds can go back to the top of the table should they win, 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.

PHOTO/COURTESY

Team news

Shane Long and Jannik Vestergaard could return to the Southampton side to face Liverpool after recovering from groin problems.

Danny Ings cannot feature against his parent club, while Mario Lemina and Michael Obafemi are still injured.

Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns, with Virgil van Dijk expected to be fit to face his former club.

The Reds defender injured his ankle against Tottenham last weekend but has trained as normal this week.

Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are back in full training but are unlikely to be included yet.

View from the dugout

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl: “We know how tough it is and there are still a lot of points to get, so we have to stay focused.

“There is still a long way to go and the sooner we get to 40 points the better.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the impact of Hasenhuttl: “I have to say, the job he is doing since he’s there is incredible. He’s brought the young players in, academy players.

“It’s good, of course, but in the situation when he came in, it’s pretty brave as well. It’s a good side, it’s a really good side. We know about that.”

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