Liverpool have to back up their first win over a top six side by getting past a relegation side.
I'm not sure there's ever been a season where I don't fear Liverpool throwing in a clunker after a big win. I'm not sure they consistently have, it's just something you feel like happens more than it should.
Which is strange about this Liverpool team, because for the most part Liverpool have beaten the teams behind them and not the ones in front of them. Does this reverse now that they've actually scalped someone farther along in the race? God, I hope not.
We also used to spend a great portion of these previews guessing at the lineup. But we don't have to do that any more either. We know the backline, it'll be Johnson-Carragher-Agger-Enrique. That's what happens when you're down to only the league and have one game per week. We know Coutinho, Sturridge, and Suarez will start, as will Lucas and Gerrard. The only question is will a third midfielder, either Henderson or Allen, come in for either Downing or Coutinho. Somehow, I doubt it. The attacking foursome saw off Swansea with ease and found a way past Spurs. Why disrupt the roll? So it'll be something like the 4-2-2-2 we've seen the past two matches, and Henderson or Allen will come in on the hour mark for Coutinho. Unless Liverpool are down a goal or something.
The Saints sit four points above the drop, after shockingly firing their manager Nigel Adkins in favor of Mauricio Pachettino. They attempt to play attractive football like a lot of teams now, with a constantly in motion front four and keeping the ball on the floor.
They're led by Rickie Lambert, who benefits from the creativity of Gaston Ramirez, Jamie Puncheon, and Jay Rodriguez behind him.
Things have gone a little balls-up for the Saints the past few matches. They were mauled by Newcastle in the Northeast, lost to QPR at home, and drew with Norwich last out. That draw with the Canaries was only their second clean sheet since the first week of December, so there are goals to find here.
Liverpool haven't been to Southampton since 2005, where you may remember Peter Crouch earning himself a move to Liverpool with a brace that day. They lost the one before that by a 2-0 scoreline as well. Not since Emile Heskey netted a winner at St. Mary's in 2003 have Liverpool won there.
The win over Spurs would be greatly dulled by then turning around and not getting all three points against Southampton, whatever the history may be. With as narrow as The Saints like to play, Enrique and Johnson should have plenty of space to galavant. You always worry about Gerrard and Lucas getting overrun or pinned too deep when Suarez is the one ahead of them. But this isn't Spurs, and the front four should have the ball a lot more to allow them to get more into the attack. With Everton getting Man City, it's a perfect chance to solidify a position above them.
On a personal note, this will be my last post as head of Anfield Asylum. My regular job is expanding, and I just won't have the time to run this. It's been a blast writing about LFC, I wish I could have been better and had more time to dedicate to it. I'll still be around, and hopefully can contribute here and there. But from here on out, you're in Bromantic's hands. I'm sure he can take this farther than I did.