Southampton take on Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday in a 8pm kick-off at St Mary’s Stadium.
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The visitors are in desperate need of three points after two frustrating draws against West Brom and Newcastle, while Southampton are looking to get back to winning ways themselves having failed to score in their last three matches.
Liverpool are 11/20 favourites to win the match, with the draw 7/2 and a home win 9/2.
I’ve had rough luck predicting Liverpool games recently, with Jurgen Klopp’s side first blank of the season at Newcastle costing us a 10/1 winner last week.
They simply haven’t been the relentlessly consistent outfit of the previous two seasons, which is perhaps understandable given their injury problems and the circumstances we are living in at present.
I do expect the Reds to win tonight, especially with Alex McCarthy and Jannik Vestergaard’s absences potentially significantly weakening Southampton, but I simply can’t be backing them at those prices given their poor away form this season (W2, D5, L1).
Instead, my main play will be based around Andre Marriner, who officiates tonight’s clash. The 50-year-old has shown 12 cards in his last three matches, with each team receiving one or more in each of those games, but his average for the season still remains relatively low at 2.44 cards per game.
Indeed, only one of Marriner’s last 18 PL matches has seen five or more cards shown (Crystal Palace v Tottenham on the final day of last season), so I will back Under 5 Cards for Both Teams Combined.
However, seven of Marriner’s nine PL matches this season have seen two or more cards shown, so with his recent flurry (by Marriner’s standards), I expect this mark to land again in what should be a fairly high-intensity affair between two sides who like to furiously counter-press as much as possible.
What makes me more confident about this is that 15 of both sides’ 16 opponents this season have picked up at least one card, which suggests there’s an ability within both sides to draw fouls. I’d actually be surprised if both teams don’t pick up one each, then, but will play safe by backing Over 1 Card for Both Teams Combined. Essentially, then, we are looking for Marriner to brandish between two and four cards, which he frequently does.
To bring our Bet Builder to an even-money shot, I’m also going to back each team to earn 3+ corners. This has landed in Liverpool’s last eight PL matches and in seven of Southampton’s last eight PL matches, with the only exception when Arsenal were reduced to ten men for around half an hour and found themselves clinging on for a point:
In terms of player cards, I’ve mentioned the astonishing regularity of opposition central midfielders being booked against Liverpool this season, so Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse both look decent prices at 5/2 and 9/2 respectively (bet365). I’d also have my eye on Kyle Walker-Peters 5/1 (William Hill) and Jan Bednarek 9/2 (Unibet) against Sadio Mane.
For Liverpool, Fabinho, Nathaniel Phillips and James Milner were all booked against Newcastle, but only the former is guaranteed to start. He’s booked less frequently when playing in defence but 4/1 (bet365) against Danny Ings and Che Adams is a decent price.
Elsewhere, there’s plenty of options in Sky Bet’s tackles markets, with Romeu a personal favourite of mine. He’s landed 4+ in nine of his 15 starts this season and is evens to do so tonight, with Walker-Peters evens to land 3+ which seems fair value given he has done so in half of his 16 starts and will be up against Mane. Likewise, Walker-Peters draws plenty of fouls and tackles himself, so 11/10 on Mane to make 2+ appeals with the forward doing so six times this season.
Another candidate is Jack Stephens, who has made 2+ in five of his six starts and 3+ in four of his six starts this season. He’s 5/6 and 5/2 to land these lines tonight, with Mohamed Salah likely to be in his vicinity. Ward-Prowse is also evens to land 3+ and has done so in nine of his 16 starts, with Southampton’s captain likely to help Walker-Peters out against Mane.
Lastly, Sky Bet have boosted Mane to have 2+ shots on target and Ings to have 1+ against his former club to 5/1. Mane has landed this six times this season, with Ings testing the opposition goalkeeper in eight of his 11 starts. Betfair make it 10/1 for both to have 2+ shots on target, with Ings doing so five times.