After becoming the seventh side in succession to lose to Liverpool at the start of this season, Southampton boss Mark Hughes remains positive after his sides 3-0 loss to the league leaders, as he looks ahead to this Saturday’s away encounter at the Molineux against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The game was effectively over by half-time, with Liverpool’s goals from Joel Matip, Mo Salah and Wesley Hoedt’s own goal all coming before the break, but Hughes still took solace from some of his team’s play in that opening 45 minutes.
He told the Southampton press: “I thought we had good moments, plenty of good play in wide areas, where we created space and opportunities to get good balls into the box, but you’ve still got to keep the back door shut and we weren’t able to do that,”
“This is the first defeat in four games, so we’ve been doing ok. Obviously, coming to places like this, you’ve got to give yourself a chance to stay in the game and create opportunities when you’re on an even keel with the opposition, but we weren’t able to do that.”
Wolves were more successful with their exploits, as they held the red side of Manchester to a 1-1 draw (having drawn to City as well), often putting the Red Devils on the back foot. Joao Moutinho bagged a beauty, whilst Adama Traore looked to make the United back four sweat in the closing stages with his blistering pace, creating a few chances at the death that could have knicked all 3 points. Wolves are now unbeaten in four PL matches.
The Saints face Wolves in the Premier League this weekend for the first time since the 2003/04 season, where the Red ‘n’ Whites came out successful on both occasions, winning 2-0 and 4-1 respectively.
They have met in the Championship since then however, where Wolves were 2-1 and 3-0 victors in the 2008/09 season, and met last season in the League Cup, when the south-coast club crashed out following a 2-0 loss in August.
Both teams have chopped and changed squads since then however, so this should prove to be an interesting mid-table clash; Wolves are one of five Premier League sides still unbeaten at home so far this season, the others being Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and AFC Bournemouth.
The mood in their camp may be dampened however, as they lost on penalties in the Carabao Cup to Leicester City midweek following a 0-0 draw; former Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward was the hero on the night after saving 3 of the penalties in an intense shootout.
Having to wait until next Tuesday for their EFL encounter against Everton, the Saints have had the whole week to refresh and collect their thoughts after the Liverpool game and work on the training ground, so should be a tad sharper from kick off.
One to watch: Danny Ings
The Englishman is expected to return to the side after being sidelined for being un-eligable to face his parent club last week. Hughes will be relying on his so-far good goalscoring form to spearhead the attack and get back to winning ways, with the Saints now winless in 2.
What’s more, Ings has had a week longer off than the rest of his team mates, so should be switched on and hungry for goals to add to his tally of 3 goals this season.
Prediction: Wolves 1-2 Southampton
Whilst Wolves may have put Manchester United under the cosh in their last league game, the midweek Cup game against Leicester will have knocked a few breaths of wind out of the players; this is where the Saints can capitalise, if players like Ings and Redmond get forward and put the pressure on. They will be more switched on and hungrier to put the woes of the last 2 games behind them, and climb back up the table.
Predicted Saints Line-Up: McCarthy; Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu, Hojbjerg, Lemina; Redmond, Ings, Armstrong.
(Quote credits: Southampton Football Club)