Friendlies: What to expect from Southampton and a Liverpool great

Southampton v Valencia
Saturday, 16:05
Live on BT Sport 1

Match Odds (Sportsbook): Southampton [3.75], Valencia [3.0], The Draw [2.0]

Southampton are in Austria for the Audi Quattro Cup, a four-team tournament featuring them, Valencia, Red Bull Salzburg and Werder Bremen.

The Saints start off with a 45-minute showdown against Ronald Koeman’s former side Valencia, and will face one of the others later in the day in either the final or third-place play-off, depending on how they fare.

For the second summer running, the Europa League-bound southerners have been inundated with enquiries for first-teamers. Nathaniel Clyne left for Liverpool, loan hit Toby Alderweireld has somewhat controversially ended up at Tottenham and Morgan Schneiderlin is expected to part before the window closes.

However, they showed last year that they have a knack for replacing successful players with even better ones and, though such a task becomes more challenging the more often you try it, the early signs are promising.

Clyne successor Cedric Soares, a Portugal international, and Spanish forward Juanmi both scored in Southampton’s opening friendly against RB Leipzig, with the former also grabbing an assist in a very promising 21-minute cameo.

While that bodes well for their [1.45]-rated top-half prospects, the fact remains that they lost that clash with German second-tier opposition, and this is a step up in class.

Valencia finished fourth in La Liga last term and, in an effort to assert that it wasn’t a one-off, have been busy in pre-season. They have recruited Santi Mina and Zakaria Bakkali and made Rodrigo, Alvaro Negredo, Andre Gomes, Joao Cancelo and Yoel Rodriguez’s loan stays permanent for a total sum of around £73 million, not to mention hiring Phil Neville.

Recommended Bet: Back Valencia to win @ [3.0]

LA Galaxy v CF America
Sunday, 04:30
Live on Sky Sports 1

Match Odds: LA Galaxy [2.38], CF America [3.0], The Draw [3.7]

Liverpool fans eager to witness Steven Gerrard’s US debut must either pull an all-nighter or set the alarm for 04:30 for the opener of the International Champions Cup 2015, a friendly competition also featuring Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris St-Germain.

Unlike the Southampton v Valencia collision, in which there is limited form to work with, the LA Galaxy are midway through the 2015 MLS campaign and on a pretty fantastic run too.

Whereas at one point it looked like Gerrard would be arriving to rescue them from a rotten start to their MLS Cup defence, which saw them win just five of their initial 17 fixtures, they have rallied with three victories in four, by magnificent 5-1, 5-0 and 4-0 margins.

Their record at the StubHub Center had been solid throughout the struggles, reading P12 W9 D1 L2 across all competitions in 2015, but even that has gathered momentum to the point of them winning four in a row and scoring 20 (TWENTY) in the process.

With CF America less battle-hardened because eight weeks have passed since the Mexican season stopped, and them closing it on consecutive defeats, the hosts have to be fancied.

Recommended Bet: Back LA Galaxy to win @ [2.38]