Liverpool may look to Anelka

 

Nicolas Anelka is almost certain to lead Liverpool's attack at Southampton tonight (Sky Sports 1, 8.0).

With Michael Owen's ankle improving but still likely to force him out of the trip to St Mary's, Anelka seems likely to form a partnership with Emile Heskey.

Anelka, on loan from Paris St Germain, will want to use the opportunity to stake a claim for a starting place at Highbury on Sunday, where Liverpool face his old club Arenal.

Caretaker coach Phil Thompson says he has been won over by the Frenchman. "To everybody else signing him was big gamble, but he has been fantastic around the place and settled in with the lads. There's a lot of French speakers here and he's been able to mix very well."

Southampton manager Gordon Strachan has backed club record signing Rory Delap to enjoy a prolonged spell in the first team.

The £4 million signing started his Southampton career in an unfamiliar right-back role but was dropped once Strachan replaced Stuart Gray.

But an injury to midfielder regular Matthew Oakley handed the Republic of Ireland international his chance. Strachan said: "Rory has done everything that could be asked of him and has looked very strong. Matt Oakley is fit but he will have to wait for his chance."

Top Six: How they stand

P W D L F A Pts

Leeds 21 11 8 2 33 17 41

Man Utd 21 12 3 6 51 31 39

Arsenal 20 11 6 3 41 24 39

Newcastle 21 12 3 6 39 28 39

Liverpool 20 11 5 4 30 20 38

Chelsea 21 8 9 4 33 20 33