Southampton and Liverpool will vie for a place in next month’s EFL Cup final, when the two meet in the first leg of the semi-final at St. Marys’ on Wednesday night.
Claude Puel’s men will look to cast aside their league form, with The Saints now winless over four games in all competitions.
Their latest frustration followed Steven Naismith’s stoppage time leveller on Saturday, as The Canaries forced Southampton into an FA Cup replay next week.
With player unrest off the pitch also, following Jose Fonte handing in a transfer request, Puel’s side will look to rectify matters with now a realistic shot of first major silverware since 1976.
Liverpool arrive on the south coast having lost just once since September. The biggest consideration for Jurgen Klopp will be who to name in his starting XI, as they aim to go one better than last year – losing to Manchester City in the final on penalties.
Having also been held in the FA Cup over the weekend, The Reds starting line-up was the youngest in the club’s history. Klopp would be hard pushed to break that record inside three days and instead, will probably elect for a mix of youth and experience.
Liverpool and Southampton have met seven times in the League Cup before, with the Reds 4-2 up in the record books. The two met in the same competition last term, when a Divock Origi hat-trick helped the Merseysiders trounce the hosts 6-1.
Saints boss Claude Puel has said Jose Fonte will not take part in Wednesday’s game and could be omitted from the matchday squad altogether until the windows closes.
Full-back duo Cedric and Cuco Martina are both doubts for the clash, with the latter struggling with illness. Winger Sofiane Boufal sustained a knee injury at the African Cup of Nations in training and is unavailable, whilst Jake Hesketh is ruled out with an ankle injury.
Matt Targett, Jeremy Pied and Charlie Austin are all long-term absentees.
Here is how Southampton could lineup:
Phillippe Coutinho could make his return from injury for Liverpool, but may not be risked. The trio of Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Marko Grujic however will all miss out.
James Milner is a doubt with a calf injury meaning Joe Gomez could continue at left-back. On the opposite flank, Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to start also.
Here is how Liverpool could line-up: