Match week 13 is nearly upon us, with the busy Christmas period looming. In a week where the Premier League will see an added fixture squeezed in, Southampton start their busy week with a trip to Anfield.
Ralph Hasenhüttl will be neither upset nor happy with his sides early season start, with the south coast outfit sitting in 13th position in the league. With 13 points amassed, it must be their goal tally that is the most worrying area of concern. Having conceded a respectable 14 goals, it’s a worry that only 13 have been scored by Southampton so far. The departure of Danny Ings (to Aston Villa in the summer) seems to have left a void in Southampton’s attack, and the team is struggling to find its new patterns of attacking play.
Last week saw Norwich overcome Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side, with Southampton falling to a 2-1 loss at Carrow Road. This week sees their travels intensify, with a daunting trip to Anfield on Saturday afternoon. There could well be a shake up in the starting lineup, with the likes of Fraser Forster, Theo Walcott and Shane long hoping for the call. Southampton had been on a four match unbeaten run, but their away form is now a cause for real concern.
Liverpool entertain a visiting team for the third time in a week, with Arsenal and FC Porto safely overcome within that period. A combination of rotation and rhythm building was chosen in the Champions League, and there could still be some variation, with a trip to Everton in midweek to consider.
Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander Arnold, and Andy Robertson should return to the defense, with Fabinho a likely starter ahead of Tyler Morton. Jordan Henderson will be hoping for a recall, with Thiago Alcantara or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starting also. James Milner will now be under consideration (after injury), yet will likely come into the game later on.
The attack could well see Divock Origi brought in, and Diogo Jota should expect to come back in. Roberto Firmino is still injured, and Mohamed Salah expects to start all games, so the team will be more about who can play this game, and next. This could be a moment for Sadio Mane to rest up, with a rib injury sustained on international duty. The Everton game must be considered, so Klopp will surely hold a couple of players back.
Southampton have some decisions to make, with a counter attacking style likely. If they try to go head to head with Liverpool, Ralf’s team may well find it hard to live with the reds. Confidence is low, and if Liverpool play anywhere close to their recent form, then the result will only head one way. Che Adams will be hoping for the chance to shine, but certain players will surely lose their places after last weeks loss.
Liverpool are a different animal with Fabinho and Thiago starting, and Klopp will be tempted to see this pair start once more. If the game can be managed (and killed off early), then he will be hoping to use the bench early. Trent Alexander Arnold is in scintillating form, and Diogo Jota is playing like a true striker at present. If Liverpool gain compete control of the game, it will certainly lead to a few home goals. Mohamed Salah is on a mission to score each and every game, and the variation in Liverpool’s team will inevitably be too much for Southampton to handle.
Player to watch – Trent Alexander Arnold
Liverpool 4 – 0 Southampton