Liverpool host Southampton as Premier League actions returns after the international break. Jurgen Klopp will be looking to start where he left off as a 4-1 win over West Ham showed that the pieces of the puzzle were finally fitting together.
Last Meeting: Liverpool 0-0 Southampton (7th May 2017)
A sunny afternoon on Merseyside resulted in a stalemate between the two sides as Liverpool failed to break down a sturdy Southampton side. This resulted in the fourth game in a row that Liverpool failed to score past the Saints – who have dominated the fixture as of late.
Former Liverpool players Lucas Leiva and Divock Origi (loan) starred in this fixture, while James Milner was left to rue a missed penalty in the 69th minute which would have separated the sides.
Southampton currently sit in 13th in the Premier League following a poor run of form – having only won once in their last six games. Last time out, the Saints fell foul to Burnley who managed another away win this season. A tightly contested affair, only one goal separated the sides in what has become a common occurrence this season.
Managed by Mauricio Pellegrino, Southampton are a tight-knit unit as demonstrated by their solid defensive record but also poor scoring form. The Saints have bagged themselves just nine goals this season – a disappointing return given the quality of the squad. Should they continue down this path, a top seven finish may be too hard a feat to achieve.
The Key Battle: Virgil Van Dijk vs Liverpool
Given the summer saga that was Van Dijk’s failed move to Liverpool – he could be forgiven if his mind is elsewhere on Saturday. However, his arrival at Anfield could be something that could be easily exploited by the whole squad. Since returning from injury, Van Dijk has not looked the player he was before and looks affected by the summer’s ongoings.
Given the clinical nature of the Liverpool strikeforce, they may opt to target the Dutch defender in particular. One thing is for certain, the media will have all their eyes focused on the exchange between Van Dijk and Jurgen Klopp pre-match.
Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho should return to the side for this match, with both back from injury and looking sharp in training. For the first time this season, bar Nathaniel Clyne, Jurgen Klopp has a full squad to choose from.
As for Southampton, they are in an equally good position with only one notable injury in new arrival Mario Lemina. Struggling with a malleolar injury, the midfielder has already missed the last three matches with him expected to miss this clash also.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet, Gomez, Klavan, Matip, Moreno, Can, Lallana, Coutinho, Mane, Firmino; Salah.
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Forster, Cedric, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Bertrand, Romeu, Davis, Redmond, Ward-Prowse, Tadic; Gabbiadini.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 Southampton