Saint Mary’s awaits for Liverpool’s final game of the season, with the fates of both sides already determined.
Southampton are rooted to the bottom of the table having been relegated to the Championship earlier this month, while Man United‘s victory over Chelsea confirmed that the Reds will end the campaign in fifth.
It gives Jurgen Klopp the rare opportunity to experiment with his team selection, having hinted at “fresh legs” during his pre-match press conference.
Liverpool have had something riding on the final day of all but one of Klopp’s full Premier League seasons, with the title already comfortably wrapped up in the other!
Here’s how Liverpool could line up.
This is what the manager told us on Friday morning:
- Darwin Nunez is available after recovering from a toe injury
- Ibrahima Konate is a doubt having picked up an illness
- Andy Robertson “felt something in his groin” in training
- Klopp told reporters “it makes sense that we make changes”
Liverpool’s XI vs. Southampton
After some emotional Anfield farewells against Aston Villa, there is scope for sentiment at Saint Mary’s.
Roberto Firmino and James Milner both came off the bench in the Reds’ final home outing but could be in line for a start in what would be their final appearances for the club.
The potential absences of Robertson and Konate also pose questions about who could fill their vacated spots in light of the recent system tweak.
With this in mind, Liverpool could look something like this:
- Milner to captain the side in his final appearance
- Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to replace the injured defenders
- Firmino to lead the line ahead of Cody Gakpo for a final goodbye
This is how Liverpool would line up:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Gomez; Fabinho, Milner, Jones; Salah, Jota, Firmino
The manager isn’t the easiest man to predict at the best of times, but the nature of the fixture makes it even more difficult on this occasion.
Klopp may look to use the left-back slot as a means of getting Milner onto the field, with Kostas Tsimikas‘ ability to occupy the left side of the new system still uncertain.
Luis Diaz will also be hoping to bounce back from a difficult afternoon against Aston Villa as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.
As a result, we could instead see something like this:
- Milner to take Robertson’s place on the left side of the back four
- Diaz and Gakpo to join Mohamed Salah up front
- Gomez to line up alongside Virgil van Dijk at centre-back
Here’s how the alternate team could look:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dik, Milner; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Salah, Diaz, Gakpo
It is a rare free hit on Sunday as we wave goodbye to some genuine Liverpool legends and attempt to end the campaign on a high.
A win would see the Reds end the season with eight victories from the last nine, which certainly would not be a bad position to be in heading into the summer.
Up the Reds!