Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has named a strong side for tonight’s clash at St Mary’s.
Hello and welcome to tonight’s EFL Cup liveblog.
Let’s get straight into the team news…
Philippe Coutinho, as expected, is held in reserve as he makes his return to the first-team squad following a seven-week absence with an ankle injury.
It’s a strong selection from manager Jurgen Klopp, much more so than the side he chose for their FA Cup clash against Plymouth last Sunday.
And here’s tonight’s Southampton selection, no room for Ireland striker Shane Long in the starting XI.
Tonight’s game is live on Sky Sports 1 by the way, and kick-off is at 19.45.
Manchester United seem to have one foot already in the final after their 2-0 home win against Hull last night, can Liverpool, who take on their fierce rivals in the Premier League in just four days’ time, follow suit?
So just the three ex-Southampton players in Liverpool’s starting XI — Clyne, Lovren and Lallana — as Sadio Mane is away on international duty with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Daniel Sturridge has history of playing well at this ground, having scored a brace in a 6-1 EFL Cup quarter-final win at St Mary’s in 2015.
Can he produce the goods again tonight, or will his injury issues once again rear their ugly head?
Just five minutes until kick-off.
And they’re off at St Mary’s.
Southampton have started the brighter of the two, a delicious ball over the top from Van Dijk just evades Redmond’s run in behind.
It’s been a lively start to this. Liverpool respond with an attack of their own and seem to be getting plenty of time on the ball in Southampton territory.
Southampton have been defending a bit better, Liverpool dominating possession and territory.
Concern for the Saints as Van Dijk goes down holding his back. Although he looks fit to continue for the moment, at least.
Liverpool are piling on the pressure now and setting the tempo.
Southampton are still holding firm at the back so far with little in the line of clearcut chances.
CHANCE — Good save from Forster. Lallana heads down well for Firmino and his fierce half-volley is palmed over the bar by the big goalkeeper.
GOOD SAVE — Karius saves well from Redmond with his feet. The Saints work it down the right wing well. Soares’ cross finds Redmond at the back post, he finds the target but can’t beat the German stopper.
Southampton 1 Liverpool 0 (Redmond ’20)
Less than a minute after his first shot was saved, Redmond makes no mistake when another chance falls his way.
Klavan is caught out badly, Rodriguez pounces on his error and plays Redmond through.
The former Norwich player finishes well and turns this tie on its head, and somewhat against the run of play too.
Liverpool have been pressing the Saints hard since conceding, winning a couple of corners.
But they’ve struggled to make a whole lot out of those opportunities, a sliced volley from Lovren being particularly warmly welcomed by the fans of his previous employers.
How long until Nathan Redmond emerges as Liverpool’s next transfer target??
Just under 10 minutes to play in the half, Liverpool still probing away but struggling to break down the Saints who more often than not have nine men behind the ball.
Liverpool have struggled to get Sturridge involved as he’s getting swallowed up by all the congestion. You’d expect Klopp will have some choice words over the oranges.
WHAT A SAVE from Karius. He denies Redmond from close range when it looked like the Saints were a sure thing to go two up.
Bertrand got down the byline all too easily before feeding Tadic. He then fed Redmond but the German stopper came up trumps, although Redmond did hit it fairly centrally.
HT: Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Well, what did you make of that?
Liverpool arguably shaded the half but Southampton created the better chances, and Redmond tucked one of them away well. Although he is probably upset with himself he doesn’t have a brace to his name.
Karius will no doubt take some confidence from his display but other than that most of the Liverpool team will be disappointed with their first-half efforts.
Will we see Coutinho at some point, I wonder?
Jurgen Klopp is throwing some angry-looking shapes after that half-time “chat”.
And we’re back under way.
If Liverpool can’t turn this around you can bet your bottom dollar the absence of Mane will be a big talking point.
Free-kick for Southampton in a dangerous area after a foul by Milner on Soares.
Tadic has a go but Milner gets his head in the way of the fierce drive and deflects it wide for a corner.
Karius is not at all convincing under the resulting corner. He gets a slight touch on the whipped cross but the officials bizarrely award a goal kick.
Elsewhere, Barcelona have taken a 1-0 lead in their Copa del rey clash against Athletic Bilbao through Luis Suarez. That levels the tie at 2-2 with 50 minutes to play.
Southampton’s tails are up at St Mary’s, they seem to have grown in confidence after that first spell. No immediate signs of a Liverpool reaction.
A decent spell of play from Liverpool but it ends in Lallana dragging a tame effort wide.
Divock Origi isn’t looking awful cold in the stands but Coutinho is getting ready to come on.
Better again from Liverpool, they’re finding a bit more space in front of the Saints’ defence.
This time Firmino lets fly from outside the area but his daisy-cutter does no more than sting the hands of Forster.
Coutinho is coming on for Wijnaldum and the Brazilian’s return from an ankle injury must be a welcome sight for Liverpool fans.
Just 30 minutes to work his magic here though.
Elsewhere, Suarez has now put Barcelona ahead on aggregate in their Copa del Rey tie with a stunning volley. His 100th goal for the club in 120 games, and 49 assists to boot. Incredible stuff.
CHANCE for Southampton — but Soares fluffs his lines and can only find the side-netting from an excellent position to the right of Karius’ goal.
This is game is simmering nicely and could yet really kick into life.
Patient build-up play from Liverpool but Southampton seem to have re-found their shape.
They hold firm on the edge of their area and frustrate the Reds, for whom Coutinho has been prominent in the past few phases of play.
Southampton are still looking dangerous on the break, Liverpool have looked a little flat-footed in defence and at times laborious in attack.
You can’t help but feel the introduction of Origi, and a slightly more direct approach, could shake up this Saints rearguard a bit.
Classie hobbles off for Southampton to be replaced by former Bayern Munich player Hojbjerg.
Still no sign of Shane Long yet either for those of you on Ireland watch.
Right on cue, Long is warming up.
Long and Ward-Prowse are introduced for Rodriguez and Davis with just under 10 minutes to play.
And Origi is on for Firmino.
It’ll be an interesting last 10 minutes or so.
WHAT A CHANCE — Redmond nearly flicks the ball over Karius into the net after some great work down the left flank by the Ireland striker. But the crossbar saves the day and Liverpool manage to clear their lines.
That is one angry man….
Four minutes plus added time to play.
Four minutes of stoppage time have been signalled.
Liverpool are doing all the attacking right now but the Saints are holding firm and looking desperately dangerous on the break.
Origi has looked bright since his introduction. Sturridge has been anonymous.
Coutinho fires so high it would have needed Hawk-Eye at Croke Park to check if it was over the bar. Sums up Liverpool’s evening really.
Down to the last 60 seconds now.
FT: Southampton 1 Liverpool 0
Liverpool have plenty of work to do at Anfield in two weeks’ time if they are to turn this tie around.
Southampton were good value for the win in the end, creating the better opportunities even though Liverpool had plenty of possession.
That’s all from us for this liveblog. Reaction and report to follow on The42.ie
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