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Jan 15, 2022 at 5pm UK

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

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

Bedeviled by inconsistency throughout the 2021-22 campaign, Lazio resume their pursuit of a European place when they travel south to meet Salernitana on Saturday.

The clubs convene at Stadio Arechi with the Aquile sitting eighth in the table after another loss last weekend, while their rock-bottom hosts defied terrible form and a brief brush with Serie A expulsion to beat Verona.

Match preview

Though star striker and Capocannoniere contender Ciro Immobile bounced back from his penalty miss of three days earlier, Lazio still came out second best from their tussle with champions Inter last Sunday, in a closely contested match in Milan.

The league leaders scored either side of the 15-goal forward's 35th-minute strike to consign the Biancocelesti to a seventh league defeat of the season, and the Roman club have now picked up just a point from their post-Christmas fixtures.

Maurizio Sarri's men had previously shared six goals with Serie A surprise package Empoli, as they were forced to twice come from behind and overcome Immobile's missed penalty just to salvage a point.

A further five goals let in since the winter break underlines the serious set of deficiencies in Sarri's defence, which has conceded more times than half the teams in the bottom 10 of the table, yet they remain level on points with sixth-placed rivals Roma.

As Lazio prepare to undertake the trip down to Salerno, they will depart in the knowledge that their record on the road is far worse than in Rome - just three wins from 11 attempts away from home attests to that.

One of several Serie A wins as hosts, though, came in the last meeting with this weekend's opponents, when they emerged victorious by a 3-0 scoreline at Stadio Olimpico back in November - Immobile netting the opening goal.

Having entered the festive period amid an existential crisis, Salernitana recovered admirably from the threat of being demoted last week, as they overcame Verona at Stadio Bentegodi.

Though they remain six points from safety, ending an eight-match winless streak came as a major surprise - even for fans of the Granata - given the late confirmation of their Serie A survival.

At the last moment, new CEO Danilo Iervolino took ownership of the club when previous custodian Claudio Lotito was forced to depart. The controversial entrepreneur has also been owner-president of Lazio since 2004, so such a conflict of interests had to be resolved by December 31.

After the first match of the Iervolino era was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Salernitana camp, Stefano Colantuono's struggling side may have travelled to Veneto in hope more than expectation, but goals from Milan Djuric and Grigoris Kastanos gave the visitors all three points after a vital 2-1 win.

However, as they return to Campania this week, their home fixtures since returning to the top flight have yielded just two draws and one win from a total of 10 contests.

Also in the midst of a five-match losing streak at Stadio Arechi, which dates back to the start of October, Colantuono will be wondering how his defence - the leakiest throughout the division - can withstand their visitors' fluent forward line.

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

Salernitana form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

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

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

Team News

In Maurizio Sarri's 250th game as a manager within Europe's top five leagues, he has a defensive headache to resolve. Lazio's absentees include Italy defender Francesco Acerbi - still out of contention due to a muscular injury - and his fellow centre-back Stefan Radu.

Furthermore, midfielder Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro remains away at the Africa Cup of Nations for at least the next fortnight, and Toma Basic is a doubt due to injury.

In Acerbi's absence, Manuel Lazzari could deputise in the visitors' back four, with Elseid Hysaj shifting into the centre. The Biancocelesti may otherwise remain unchanged, despite Mattia Zaccagni's lively showing as a substitute against Inter. Ciro Immobile is a certain starter at the apex of a three-man forward line, having registered his 170th Serie A goal last time out at San Siro.

Meanwhile, nine Salernitana players and two staff members have been in quarantine recently, and the identity of those ready to return to the fray on Saturday remains to be seen. Norbert Gyomber is suspended, so will certainly miss out.

Midfielder Lassana Coulibaly was called up to the Mali squad for the ongoing AFCON, but wing-back Wajdi Kechrida - due to represent Tunisia until he tested positive for COVID-19 and could not travel to Cameroon - should start on the right flank for the hosts.

Stefan Strandberg remains unavailable to Stefano Colantuono due to a hamstring problem, as does fellow defender Matteo Ruggeri; veteran forward Franck Ribery is ruled out too.

Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Belec; Veseli, Delli Carri, Ranieri; Kechrida, Kastanos, Obi, M. Coulibaly, Zortea; Bonazzoli, Djuric

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Lazzari, Hysaj, Felipe, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Alberto; Pedro, Immobile, Anderson

We say: Salernitana 1-3 Lazio

Only Lazio's lame away record gives pause for deliberation before concluding that they will walk away from Salerno with maximum points this weekend.

Against Serie A's bottom side, depleted by absences again, the productive Aquile attack will prove too hot for their hosts to handle - ruthlessly exploiting their weaknesses in defence.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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