After a couple of disappointing results, Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to take on Southampton at St Mary’s on Monday evening (8pm; TV: Live on Sky Sports). Can the visitors strengthen their position at the summit of England’s top division?
Read on for Just Bookies’ full Premier League match preview and concluding betting tips with odds comparison.
Struggles against the big boys
Southampton are enjoying a relatively fruitful campaign. The south coast team, who are no easy side to get the better of, find themselves sat in a respectable 9th position, whilst they come into this fixture having lost just one of their last six. Back-to-back clean sheets points towards them being somewhat sturdy at the back, which may be a concern for a visiting side that has notched only once in the last 180 minutes of football.
However, while things are going quite well, the Saints have a reasonably worrying home record against the big teams this term. In fact, they’ve won just one of their five home matches against the current top half. They’ve lost three of those five. They have lost three out of three against the current top five. Then again, in recent weeks, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men have kept things nice and tight defensively, while they recently restricted Manchester City to just a single goal at this venue.
While Southampton’s home record against the better teams this term leaves plenty to be desired, Liverpool’s away record in general isn’t great, especially of late. OK, they thumped Crystal Palace recently, showing off an array of attacking weapons, scoring seven goals, but aside from that, things have been a little bit underwhelming on the road. Last time out, they drew 0-0 away at Newcastle, while they have now won just one of their last five travelling Premier League matches.
Sixteen goals scored paints Liverpool’s travelling attacking efforts in a relatively respectable shade, though if we remove the seven that they scored away against Palace, they’ve notched nine in seven. Far from terrible, but hardly jaw-dropping. Similarly, if we remove the seven that they conceded in a rather bizarre showing at Villa Park earlier in the campaign, the champions have conceded five in seven. Such numbers provide a much more accurate reflection of how Jurgen Klopp’s men have fared away from home this season. They have been steady, but nothing special.
Are Saints getting more than they deserve?
A quick glance at the number of goals Southampton have scored at home would suggest that we’re talking about a strong attacking side. Saints have scored 13 times in eight home matches, notching at least twice in six of those eight. However, if we scratch beneath the surface it’s relatively easy to start thinking that they’ve over-performed in this area.
As mentioned in this preview above, Southampton have regularly notched multiple goals on home soil this term, scoring two or more in six out of eight, but rarely have their expected goals (xG) numbers pointed towards multiple goals being warranted. In fact, Hasenhüttl’s side have recorded more than ‘1.5 xG for’ in none of their eight matches at St. Mary’s. Only twice have they exceeded 1.0. Four times, they’ve gone under 1.0. Such numbers probably explain the recent dip in their goal output. Unless these figures improve, then a lack of goals is likely to continue for the Saints, who’ve now gone two home matches without finding the net.
Lack of goals on the cards?
The early betting with the biggest-named UK online sports betting sites suggests that a high-scoring game is likely to unfold on south coast, as is often the case when the side containing attacking riches such as Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah are in action. Conversely, there’s plenty of reason to feel that the price on ‘under 2.5 goals’ has some juice in it.
Barring two rather crazy fixtures, Liverpool’s away games have been fairly low-key in terms of goals. More than two goals have been scored in just three of their eight away matches this term. Four of the last five have seen less than three goals go in. They’ve scored more than once in just four of their last five travelling matches too. Couple this with the fact that Southampton are without a goal for or against in just over 180 minutes of home football and a low-scoring affair really starts to appeal, especially at the current bookmaker odds. The selection of ‘under 2.5 goals’ can be further fuelled by Southampton’s rather weak underlying numbers. An average of just 0.96 xG for at home doesn’t exactly point towards a flurry of home goals, while an average of 0.73 xG against suggests that they may be able to keep things respectable.
Brazilian to bag
It’s not been a vintage couple of seasons for Roberto Firmino in terms of goals, that’s for sure. Fourteen goals in 54 appearances in the last two campaigns isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a no.9 playing week in, week out for an all-conquering trophy-winning side, though he has started to come alive in front of goal in recent weeks. The forward bagged the winner against Tottenham in December, while he notched twice when Liverpool ran riot away at Palace. If we add in the fact that he’s averaging a rather pleasing 0.40 expected goals for per 90 minutes, as well as an average of 2.42 shots per 90, then those looking for a player prop ahead of Monday’s clash could do far worse than backing Firmino to score at any time.
So the betting tips for this SaintsFC vs LFC preview are:
- Go under 2.5 goals @ best odds of 11/8 with Betfred.
- Bet on Roberto Firmino to score at any time @ best odds of 9/4 with BetVictor.
Compare SaintsFC vs LFC Betting Odds from Best Bookies
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.