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Jan 6, 2022 at 1.30pm UK
Immobile (14'), Milinkovic-Savic (66', 90+3')
Felipe (18'), Pedro (52'), Marusic (62'), Alberto (71')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Bajrami (6' pen.), Zurkowski (8'), Di Francesco (75')
Parisi (10'), Marchizza (33'), Luperto (86'), Bandinelli (90+5')

Preview: Lazio vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Lazio vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Serie A clash between Lazio and Empoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Lazio and Empoli head into Thursday's Serie A fixture at Stadio Olimpico sitting in eighth and ninth place respectively in the standings.

Nevertheless, there is a four-point gap separating the two clubs, giving the home side an opportunity to push ninth position and beyond further out of the European mix.

Match preview

With Lazio currently occupying a spot outside of the European places, it is fair to say that Maurizio Sarri has not always had it his own way since moving to the club in the summer.

However, nine points from four games, coupled with the teams above them maintaining their own inconsistencies, has kept Lazio within three points of fifth position.

A trip to Inter Milan at the weekend may change that scenario, but Lazio can keep the pressure on their rivals with another victory at their home ground.

As it stands, I Biancocelesti possess the second-best home record in the division, even if they have only prevailed in one of their last three games on familiar territory.

On a positive note, six goals have been scored during two games without leading marksman Ciro Immobile, Pedro netting in both matches to take his tally for the season to seven.

As for Empoli, failure to win either of their last two matches has come at the wrong time, Aurelio Andreazzoli's team now back towards the mid-table positions.

However, their only defeat in seven in all competitions has been by a 4-2 scoreline to AC Milan, while 15 goals have been netted during that period.

Clean sheets remain an issue, their only shutout since September 26 coming at Napoli, but one of the minnows of the division can approach the second half of the campaign with a sense of freedom having already opened a 16-point advantage over the bottom three.

Nevertheless, they play three of the top eight during January, and Andreazolli will be demanding a fast start to the year, at least in terms of performances.

Lazio Serie A form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Lazio form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Empoli Serie A form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Empoli form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Elseid Hysaj and Immobile are both in line to return to the Lazio starting lineup after recovering from spells on the sidelines.

With Francesco Acerbi an injury doubt, Stefan Radu could move into the middle of the defence, while Felipe Anderson may drop out of the attack.

Despite continuing to impress as a substitute, Luis Alberto may again have to make do with a spot among the replacements.

Empoli will hope to have Petar Stojanovic available after the right-back needed to be withdrawn during the first half of the Milan fixture.

Federico Di Francesco is also in contention for a recall in attack, potentially as an alternative to Patrick Cutrone.

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Marusic, Felipe, Radu, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Basic; Pedro, Immobile, Zaccagni

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Stojanovic, Romagnoli, Luperto, Parisi; Zurkowski, Ricci, Henderson; Bajrami; Pinamonti, Di Francesco

We say: Lazio 3-1 Empoli

Having ended 2021 on a low note, Empoli would have welcomed the opportunity to regroup ahead of this important fixture. However, Lazio had gotten back on track ahead of the Christmas break, and we are backing the home side to run out convincing winners on Thursday.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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