Liverpool vs. Southampton
Saturday, November 18, 2017 — 3pm (GMT)
Referee: Mike Jones
In recent years, this has become a fixture full of needle, with Liverpool’s constant nabbing of Southampton‘s best players irking the South Coast club. The Virgil van Dijk saga in the summer has only added fuel to the fire.
This weekend, the two sides do battle at Anfield, with Saints suffering just one defeat against the Reds in their last seven meetings.
It is no surprise to see Jurgen Klopp‘s side go into the game as strong favourites, however, with signs of things finally clicking into gear this season.
The 4-1 victory away to West Ham before the international break was Liverpool’s third win in a row, and there has been a more measured, pragmatic approach on show since the defeat to Tottenham last month.
On top of this, key players are all returning to full fitness, meaning Klopp could field his most potent attacking line-up possible on Saturday.
When the Reds click in the final third they can be genuinely unplayable, and Van Dijk and his teammates will hopefully be tested to the hilt.
Southampton remain a slick side in their own right, though, with a nucleus of individuals who have played together for a number of years.
They have players who can hurt teams, from the pace and trickery of Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond to the finishing ability of Manolo Gabbiadini.
Former Liverpool player and coach Mauricio Pellegrino has made an okay start to life as manager at St Mary’s, but just nine goals in 11 Premier League games is a disappointing attacking output.
The hosts should have too much quality for their 13th-placed opponents, but an early goal for a well-drilled Saints outfit could make for a long afternoon.
Momentum is huge in football – dropped points would undo so much of the recent hard work by Klopp and his players.
Last meeting: Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
The injury news is arguably as positive as it has been at any point during Klopp’s tenure so far.
Nathaniel Clyne is now the only player sidelined, although unfortunately, the right-back will be out until 2018 following back surgery.
Adam Lallana is expected to be named in the squad to face his former club, but there’s no chance of him starting the game.
Whatever the team is, the substitutes’ bench looks set to be one of Liverpool’s strongest in years.
Southampton will be without midfielder Mario Lemina, which is a blow for Pellegrino, but centre-back Wesley Hoedt is fit.
Last 5 at home to Southampton (All Competitions)
Liverpool 0-0 Southampton – May 7, 2017
Liverpool 0-1 Southampton – January 25, 2017 (Long)
Liverpool 1-1 Southampton – October 25, 2015 (Benteke; Mane)
Liverpool 2-1 Southampton – August 17, 2014 (Sterling, Sturridge; Clyne)
Liverpool 0-1 Southampton – September 21, 2013 (Lovren)
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Southampton – Last five results (all competitions)
Did You Know?
Liverpool failed to score a single goal against Southampton last season, despite playing them on four separate occasions.
In his pre-match press conference, Klopp made it clear that Lallana will not be rushed back, ahead of a busy run of fixtures:
“Adam is in training, but now [only] since three days, four days,” Klopp said.
“It’s fantastic that he’s back, he’s lost nothing. But in the next few weeks we have games [every] three days.
“There’s no rushing it, even though everyone who knows Adam can imagine how ready he is to be part of the squad again. We will see what we’ll do.
“It’s completely different to Sadio [Mane]. [Lallana] was much longer out. He’s a fantastic player, but we want to have him for the season, [not one game].
“The player wants to be back immediately and I’m now the bad guy who says ‘not today’! I only do it for him, for the club.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The game kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, which means it is not televised in the UK.
If you are not lucky enough to be at Anfield, come and join Ben Twelves on our matchday live blog from 2:15pm, as he talks you through the action.