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Liverpool v Southampton – Match Preview

Liverpool take on Southampton this Saturday at 3pm at Anfield.

Last time out for Liverpool

Liverpool hosted Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield on Tuesday night in their Champions League opener. Goals from Daniel Sturridge, James Milner and Roberto Firmino were enough to see the Reds run out 3-2 winners against the French champions, who put in a lacklustre performance. Liverpool now top their group going into the next game.

Prior to that in the Premier League, Liverpool travelled to Wembley Stadium on Saturday 15th September to face a Tottenham side without goalkeeper Hugo Lloris or attacker Dele Alli. Goals on either side of half time from Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino secured all three points for the Reds. A late Erik Lamela goal and eye injury sustained by Firmino were the only dampeners on what was otherwise a solid performance from Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Liverpool are currently on a six-match unbeaten run in all competitions in which they have won every game.

Last time out for Southampton

Southampton took on Brighton on Monday night at St. Mary’s, where goals from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Liverpool loanee Danny Ings put the Saints 2-0 up 65 minutes in.

However, Brighton bounced back immediately through Shane Duffy just two minutes later, before a 90th-minute Glen Murray equaliser broke Southampton hearts.

The Saints find themselves in thirteenth position in the league.

Injury concerns

Liverpool remain without Dejan Lovren, who has returned to training but is not yet fit enough to make the squad, as well as Adam Lallana (groin), Dominic Solanke (concussion), Divock Origi (ankle) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee). Lallana and Solanke should be available by next week, but Oxlade-Chamberlain remains a long-term absentee.

Southampton will be without Manolo Gabbiadini who is out with a hamstring injury; Danny Ings is also unavailable due to his loan terms with Liverpool. Aside from that, the Saints have a full compliment at their disposal.

Key players

Despite his recent eye injury, Roberto Firmino has taken up the mantle of Liverpool’s talismanic player, scoring a crucial late goal against PSG on Tuesday night after a brilliant header against Tottenham in the preceding match, which proved to be decisive. Sadio Mane continues to be an attacking threat, while James Milner has been an ever-present rock in the heart of the midfield.

Unfortunately for Southampton, their key man has been Danny Ings, who leads their goalscoring charts with three at present. Charlie Austin and Shane Long provide a danger up front, however, and will necessitate sensible marshalling by Liverpool’s back line.

Predicted starting XI for Liverpool

Klopp has a selection headache every week this season as so many of his key players are increasingly making themselves un-droppable.

The defence is highly unlikely to change, with the solid Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson forming a difficult-to-penetrate shield in front of goalkeeper Alisson.

I can see Naby Keita returning to the starting XI to give him some more game time after not starting against PSG, possibly at the expense of Jordan Henderson. Milner and Wijnaldum are in too good a vein of form to drop right now.

While Klopp is likely to stick with his standard front three of Firmino, Mane and Mohamed Salah, part of me suspects he might opt to “rest” Salah after his difficult game on Tuesday night, in which his mistake almost cost Liverpool the win. Perhaps a benched start for the Egyptian might do him some good, with Xherdan Shaqiri getting his first start for the Reds. Time will tell, though.

Predicted starting XI: Alisson, Robertson, Van Djik, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Keita, Milner, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Mane, Firmino.

Subs: Mignolet, Matip, Clyne, Henderson, Fabinho, Salah, Sturridge.

Score prediction: Liverpool 3 – 0 Southampton.

David McIlroy

Follow David on Twitter @david_mcilroy

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