Southampton host Liverpool in the first-leg of their EFL Cup semi-final showdown on Wednesday night. The Saints suffered a humiliating 6-1 home defeat against Jurgen Klopp’s charges in this competition last season and, with a place in the showpiece final at Wembley just 180 minutes away for either side, Claude Puel’s men will have set their sights on taking their revenge against the men from Merseyside.
Both teams will face FA Cup replays after their respective third round ties ended in stalemate, with Southampton being held against Championship side Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon, while the Reds will travel to Home Park to face Plymouth Argyle of League Two after Sunday’s clash at Anfield ended goalless.
Klopp fielded a vastly inexperienced side against the Pilgrims and, with the Reds aiming to reach the final of this competition for a second successive season, the former Borussia Dortmund manager is expected to name a significantly stronger starting line-up when his team travel to take on the Saints.
As such, it is Liverpool who are chalked up as bet365’s 11/8 (2.38) favourites to claim a vital victory in Hampshire, while the same firm offer 15/8 (2.88) that the hosts seize the initiative in the tie by coming out on top; bet365 go 12/5 (3.40) that the match remains all square at the end of 90 minutes and that selection may well prove popular with punters, for the most recent meeting between the teams ended in a goalless draw at St Mary’s back in November.
There has been no shortage of goalmouth action in Southampton’s most recent fixtures, with each of the Saints’ last five games featuring more than two goals and the odds compilers offer even money (2.0) that the trend continues in this tie. The same firm go 5/4 (2.25) that the hosts concede more than once – a selection that would have landed in each of the last four fixtures that Puel’s men have fulfilled.
Liverpool failed to fire on their last visit to St Mary’s but the Reds have racked up two or more goals in seven of their last nine matches away from Anfield and, given that Saints have conceded 11 times in their last four games, the value lies in backing Klopp’s men to get amongst the goals again here.
It is, therefore, the 5/4 (2.25) quote on offer from bet365 for Liverpool to score more than one goal that is the recommended play for punters ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final showdown at St Mary’s.