With us whizzing through January like Trump and ermm certain ladies of the night. Yep, let’s leave it at that.
We have the EFL Semi – Final Cup competition upon us. Last night saw Manchester United win 2-0 against Hull City, and even with the 2nd leg still to play at the KCOM stadium, you’d have to suggest that Manchester United fans should start sorting their travel arrangements to Wembley.
It’s a competition José knows well, being a previous winner on 3 occasions with Chelsea, but who will his United side be facing come 26th February?
Southampton or Liverpool are the candidates; common sense would suggest Liverpool with the depth of squad at their disposal and with the 2nd leg at Anfield it should be easy going. For Saints, tonight’s Semi – Final should provide a break from the league, where Claude Puel’s side have lost 3 on the bounce. But we shall have to wait and see.
But what I want to focus on today, is the added spice that has crept into Southampton Vs Liverpool games over the past couple of seasons.
Which of course as you know is down to The Reds let’s say ‘selective’ transfer approach of Saints players over the 3 years. I’m going to look into how those players who swapped the red of Southampton for the red of Liverpool have gotten on.
You do have to wonder if Liverpool’s chief scout Barry Hunter, has a renewable season ticket down at St. Marys, with the club forking out in excess of £95m for 5 Saint players.
Let’s get crackin!
First up, Rickie Lambert £4m (June, 2014) MISS
Talk to any Saints fan, and they will only speak in the highest regard of the man. From scoring goals in League 1 to scoring against City away in the Premier League, what dreams are made of for any professional footballer. He gave everything for Southampton football club, and with 117 goals in 235 games for the club – twice voted Saints player of the season.
When news broke, that his boyhood club Liverpool had submitted an offer for his services, he was always going to go and I think the majority of SFC supporters would have wished him luck.
Didn’t work out for him at Liverpool as he would have hoped. A season of bit part performances from the bench mainly, meant that he only lasted 1 season at Anfield before securing a move to West Brom.
Lambert’s the sorta player which gives hope to all professionals in the lower leagues that they can do it at the top level.
Adam Lallana £25m (July, 2014) HIT
265 games for Saints between 2006 – 2014, as an academy graduate his first experience of professional football for Saints was in League 1. Was instrumental in Saints securing back to back promotions, to get back to the promised land. Made captain of the club in 2012.
His Liverpool career took a while to take off, but this season the boy can do no wrong! So far in this PL campaign he’s scored 7 and got 7 assists. Transformed himself from a bit part player into a key player for The Reds. Willing to put the miles in for Jurgen Klopp’s high pressing side too.
Pub Quiz Question: Who’s been named in the League 1, Championship & Premier League team of the year in consecutive years? Adam Lallana.
Dejan Lovren £20m (July, 2014) MISS
Only the one season spent at St. Marys for Lovren, signed from Lyon for £8.5m on a four-year deal. Went on to be sold to Liverpool the following summer for £20m after rumours of a transfer request. From Saint’s perspective, you’d have to say it was a wise move selling him.
Liverpool have been looking to fill the void left by the retirement of Jamie Carragher for some time now, not sure Lovren is the right man personally.
He’s a tough tackling centre back who will always be an attacking threat from corners granted. But his decision making has to be questioned at times, Klopp will want to build the team around Joël Matip.
Nathaniel Clyne £12.5m (July, 2015) HIT
A solid performer for Saints and now for Liverpool. I believe the 25-year-old will be battling it out with Kyle Walker for the next couple of years for the starting RB position when it comes to England duty though.
Always does a good job and quietly goes about his business. This season he has really impressed onthe eye though, leading the assist charts for defenders. A constant threat down the right-hand side for Liverpool, one of the Reds key players.
Klopp will be delighted with his full back’s form this season.
Sadio Mané £34m (June, 2016) UNDECIDED
The former Red Bull Salzburg player spent two seasons at Southampton. Unknown quantity in his first season but give Koeman his credit he clearly knew about Mané’s raw ability.
Unbelievable acceleration and became a major part of the game plan for Southampton & a fan favourite. During his 2nd season, you could see the writing was on the wall for Sadio, after being fined for turning up late to team meetings several times throughout the season.
It’s too soon to decide if his Liverpool career will be one which will be looked back on fondly or not, but he’s off to a great start so far. Scoring against Arsenal on the opening day of the season, and then scoring the winner in the Merseyside derby. Liverpool will be thankful that Coutinho is back playing, with Mané off for ACON duty.
So there you have it peeps, let’s hope for two great cup legs and see who ends up on top.