LIVERPOOL have been boosted by the news that Lucas Leiva is in contention for Saturday’s game at home to Southampton. The Brazilian midfielder has been sidelined for more than three months with a thigh injury but in his pre-match press conference, Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Lucas will be in Saturday’s squad.
Speaking on Thursday, Rodgers said: “Lucas Leiva will return to the squad, which is great news because he’s been working very, very hard and played the reserve game last week. He’s been training for a few weeks and looked very good, so we’ll look forward to bringing him back in.”
Joe Cole will also return from injury after missing the 2-1 defeat against Tottenham on Wednesday.
The defeat at White Hart Lane ended a run of eight league games unbeaten for Liverpool and the Reds will look to bounce back by beating a Southampton side who have not lost any of their last four matches. The Saints picked up their first away points of the season when they beat QPR two weeks ago and despite their poor home record, Liverpool will be expected to take all three points at Anfield against last season’s Championship runners-up.
All eyes will be on Luis Suarez once again, who despite not scoring in Liverpool’s last two matches remains the Premier League’s top scorer with ten goals. Rodgers has called on the rest of his players to ease the burden on Suarez and said the responsibility of supporting the Uruguayan should not rest solely on Reds skipper Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard has managed just one league goal this season but he has created 34 chances for his teammates and has a passing accuracy of 86%.
Southampton’s danger man is striker Rickie Lambert, who has scored six league goals so far. Record signing Gaston Ramirez, who was linked with Liverpool throughout the summer before moving to St Mary’s, has contributed two goals in eight appearances.
The Saints have scored 21 goals in the league – three more than Liverpool – but they are defensively vulnerable and have conceded 31 goals, which is more than any other Premier League side.
Argentine keeper Paulo Gazzaniga came under fire after his mistake against Norwich cost Southampton a goal, but Nigel Adkins has defended the 20-year-old and said Gazzaniga will keep the shirt at Anfield.
Liverpool will hope to exploit Southampton’s defensive vulnerabilities as they look to improve on a disappointing 12th place position.
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