Saints vs Liverpool: Lawro predicts big blow for one team's top four hopes

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson looks ahead to the Reds encounter with Southampton.

Mark Lawrenson believes Liverpool will suffer a big blow in their top four hopes by losing 2-1 at Southampton on Sunday, the BBC report.

The Reds head in to the match undefeated in 2015 in the Premier League and closing in on the top four following an impressive run of results.

The Saints, likewise, have been in solid form since a four-game losing streak in early December, winning six of their last nine matches including victories over Arsenal and Manchester United.

Sunday’s clash at St. Mary’s represents a fantastic opportunity for one team to boost their top four hopes while dishing out a big blow to their opponent, and Lawro is backing the hosts for victory.

“I am looking forward to this one, which should be a cracking game between two good sides,” Lawro wrote in his BBC prediction column.

“Since Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester United in December, in a game where they had enough chances to win comfortably themselves, things have really come together for them and their attack has enough pace to cause anyone problems.”

“This is a real test for them, though, because I think Saints boss Ronald Koeman can use this game as a way of getting his side's focus back.”

“They have been a little inconsistent recently. Part of that has been down to the goals drying up for Graziano Pelle, but they remain a very dangerous side.”

“I fancy Saints to edge it, which would be a big boost to their hopes of making the top four and a big blow to Liverpool.”

Can Liverpool recover with a loss?

Of the five clubs now vying for the remaining two Champions League qualification spots, it’s undeniable that the Anfield outfit face the biggest task of making up ground on their rivals.

Brendan Rodgers’ men currently lie in seventh spot, four points behind their opponents on Sunday and a loss will widen the gap with just over a third of the season left to play.

Despite their excellent form, the Merseysiders have a tough run-in with away fixtures at Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion, Hull City, Swansea City, Stoke City and league leaders Chelsea awaiting.

While it’s a bit premature to call this clash a must-win game for the Reds, it is however arguably a match they cannot afford to lose and it will be interesting to see if they opt for their usual attacking approach.

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