Southampton will be hoping to improve on last season’s performance, as the ‘Alpine Klopp’ Ralph Hasenhuttl looks to take his side up another gear.
Last season: Won 3-0 at home, won 3-1 away
When we play them: August 17 (away); February 1 (home)
The 2018/19 campaign is not one Saints supporters will look back at fondly, with relegation a genuine possibility at one point.
In the end, Hasenhuttl’s men managed to battle their way to a 16th-placed finish, but they are a squad who should be doing better.
The Austrian largely impressed in the role, having taken over from Mark Hughes, but now is the time to go up a level.
Former Liverpool striker Danny Ings has joined on a permanent deal, but injuries continue to hamper the likeable striker.
Che Adams arrives from Birmingham after a stellar season in the Championship—he could either be a success story or see his limitations exposed in the Premier League.
A mid-table finish should be the aim for Saints, and if they find themselves in another relegation fight, something will have gone badly wrong.
Notable ins: Moussa Djenepo, Che Adams, Danny Ings
Notable outs: Matt Targett, Steven Davis, Sam Gallagher
Best XI: Gunn; Valery, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Ings, Adams
We spoke to Richard Brereton (@RichardBrer) to hear about Southampton‘s progress and Liverpool’s title hopes this season.
How optimistic are you about the new season?
I’m fairly confident that we will do a lot better than last year. Ralph Hasenhuttl has transformed the way that we play for the better.
The signings of Moussa Djenepo and Che Adams will give us a lot more potency in attack, but I am concerned about our defensive capabilities.
It was obvious last season that we need additional quality at centre-back, but it has proved to be incredibly difficult to find an available signing who is better than what we already have.
I am dreading the thought of Wesley Hoedt actually having to play some games for us this season.
What are Southampton’s main objectives for 2019/20?
A season of stability.
The relegation battles in the last two seasons have made it difficult for the club to plan for the medium and long-term.
The aim this season should be to finish somewhere between eighth and 14th and build a platform to push for a top-eight finish next year.
In addition, we should be aiming to promote a couple of youth players into the first-team squad and give them some game time.
Who’s your man to watch, and why?
Adams looks really dangerous from what we’ve seen in pre-season.
He’s had a habit of scoring early goals this summer and seems to have instinctive finishing ability.
I’m very glad that we maintained our interest in him after being rebuffed by Birmingham in January.
* All rival supporter views taken before the end of the transfer window.
St Mary’s Stadium
Away fans’ pubs: Yates. It’s about halfway between the station and the stadium.
One piece of advice for visiting fan: Get the train. The station is a 30-minute walk from the stadium and there are plenty of pubs on the way.
How do you rate Liverpool’s chances ahead of the new season?
Liverpool will be dangerous again this season due to the sheer quality in your squad.
It will be interesting to see how you follow up on the intensity of the title chase and the euphoria of winning the Champions League.
Will we see the same level of performances again or will there be a hangover?
If I was a Liverpool fan I would be slightly concerned at the lack of significant signings, particularly in midfield and centre-forward.
I’m not sure that you have the playmaker required to overhaul Man City this year.
Who are you tipping to be our Player of the Year, and why?
It’s hard to look past Virgil van Dijk.
He’s a colossus in defence and Liverpool will need him to be on top form if they are to challenge for trophies again this year.
He will be motivated to play as well as he can, in order to either win titles with Liverpool or make himself stand out so that teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona covet his signature.
TIA’s Southampton Predicted Finish: (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions) 12th
Where Richard says Southampton will finish: 12th
Where Richard says Liverpool will finish: 2nd
This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC. Read them all here.