EFL Cup: Liverpool v Southampton preview


Liverpool v Southampton preview

Joel Matip is set to make his first start in more than a month as Liverpool face Southampton in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday.


The defender has not been named in the starting line-up since December 11 due to injury and then uncertainty over his eligibility due to the Africa Cup of Nations.

However, after FIFA confirmed he is eligible to play, Matip is set to return after coming on as a late substitute in the 3-2 defeat to Swansea on Saturday and then featuring for an hour for the Under-23s on Sunday.

Liverpool trail 1-0 from the first leg at St Mary's and have won just once in six games in all competitions in 2017.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed there was a team meeting following the home loss to Swansea.

"It was because the goals we have conceded in 2017 have been a little bit of the same story," he said. "The influence of throw-ins is a little bit too big on the goals we concede. It's not that teams create a lot of chances against us.

"A few weeks ago, everybody spoke about the goalkeeper. That has absolutely no influence on the goals we're conceding at the moment. We can't say it's only the centre-half. Very often, the last mistake happens in this region, but that would be too easy."

Southampton, who had chances to win by a greater margin in the first leg, have conceded just one goal in their last four matches in all competitions.

They also beat Leicester 3-0 on Sunday to record their first Premier League victory for a month.

"It will be important to score away," said Saints manager Claude Puel. "And to stay focused about our game - not just to think about the result or just defending."

Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns for the semi-final second leg.

Matip is available and captain Jordan Henderson is expected to play even though he has a heel problem.

Southampton will await results of a scan on Virgil van Dijk to assess whether he will be fit.

The Saints captain hobbled off in the 55th minute during their win over Leicester and remains a doubt.

Should Van Dijk miss out, England Under-21 international Jack Stephens, who came on as a substitute for the Dutchman, could deputise.

Ryan Bertrand and Dusan Tadic should keep their places in the starting XI as Puel confirmed that he will play his strongest side at Anfield, while Steven Davis could recover from a knock which has caused him to miss their last few games.



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