Southampton: Pellegrino must start Carrillo over Long against Liverpool

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Guido Carrillo of Southampton during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns on February 3, 2018 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Guido Carrillo of Southampton during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns on February 3, 2018 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images) /
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This weekend Southampton face arguably their toughest test since the turn of the year, as they host Liverpool at St. Mary’s this Sunday.

The Saints have already played Tottenham in 2018 but in the reverse fixture against the Reds earlier this season Southampton were well and truly played out of the pitch in all aspects. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side only lost 3-0 but on another day it could’ve easily been five or six.

The Saints are unbeaten since the loss against Crystal Palace near new year, with the run reaching it’s climax with a spectacular 3-2 win over West Brom this past weekend.

The Argentinian manager fielded a much more attacking line-up against the Baggies, having previously played a much more tentative line-up against Brighton in midweek.

Against Liverpool, Saints will enjoy a lot less possession than normal and will be forced to endure long spells on the defensive side of things – Pellegrino will therefore be tempted to play a counter-attacking team. He must avoid this.

WATFORD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Shane Long of Southampton look dejected after the Premier League match between Watford and Southampton at Vicarage Road on January 13, 2018 in Watford, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
WATFORD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Shane Long of Southampton look dejected after the Premier League match between Watford and Southampton at Vicarage Road on January 13, 2018 in Watford, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images) /

Despite the arrival of former-Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk for as much as £75 million, Liverpool seem, if anything, worse at the back than before. Whilst this game is away from home for the Merseyside team, they have conceded more goals at Anfield since the Dutchman’s arrival than they had all season before.

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Carrillo has shown from his first three appearances that he likes to get into the thick of things and will challenge whatever centre-backs he comes up against.

With both Liverpool defenders not enjoying the best of times at the moment, Carrillo will capitalise on any mistakes that are made and will give the Saints their best chance of snatching something.

If Long starts up in place of the former-Monaco man, the Saints will be more inclined to sit deep and hit long balls – whilst Carrillo himself can act as a target man the Irishman is more likely to chase loose balls and try and feed off scraps.

Long works hard for the team and will always give 100% but he simply isn’t scoring anywhere near enough at the moment, and against one of the top teams in the league that’s unlikely to change.

If Pellegrino wants to get anything from the game, Carrillo simply has to start – crosses from the full-backs are going to be the main way the Saints will create chances and with that being the case Carrillo needs to be the man up top.