Liverpool VS Southampton match preview: Reds look to continue good form

The Reds are back at Anfield for the 3pm kick-off against the Saints. They come into the match in good form following the international break; a 4-0 and 2-0 win against Arsenal and Porto has raised the spirits in the camp.

This game poses another great opportunity for three more points and putting themselves in the thick of it at the top of the table.

With Liverpool playing first out of Chelsea and Manchester City, a win would take them up to second place and just one point of current leaders Chelsea. If the Reds want to remain in the hunt for the Premier League title, this period is extremely important. Starting this busy festive period with a win is imperative for a chance to reclaim the title.

Last season, Liverpool beat Southampton at home by 2-0. Thiago Alcantara scored his first goal for the club against the Saints and comes into this game after scoring his second for the club in the Champions League on Wednesday. The technique on his outside the box volley was superb; Thiago was great against Porto and won the Man of the Match award on the night.

His role in the midfield will be very important. Supplying the killer pass to the forward players will be his main task during the game. Southampton are likely to sit back and aim to catch Liverpool out on the counter-attack.

 

  •  Form of both sides

Liverpool enter this game in fine form. Impressive wins against Arsenal and Porto have lifted the mood of the Liverpool fans and players. Prior to the international break, Liverpool lost their first game of the Premier League season, a 3-2 defeat to West Ham United. This defeat raised a lot of questions about the squad and playing style of Liverpool.

Many have criticised them for being too open in midfield, offering opponents far too many chances in games. In the last two games, however, the Reds have looked stronger and more compact in midfield, allowing them to control the game.

Attacking wise, Liverpool’s front three are on fire. Mohamed Salah has been playing at a ridiculously high level so far this season. He has 11 goals and seven assists in 12 league games so far. Salah has never looked so good.

However, Sadio Mane is also looking back to his best too. He is back to scoring regularly and is having a real impact in games. Mane struggled a lot last season and had a tough year, but he has shown that he is not past his best yet. The Senegalese has seven league goals so far this season.

Should Jurgen Klopp’s side offer a similar performance to the previous two games, the three points should be expected for them.

As for Southampton, they enter this game in 13th place in the league. In their last five league games they have won three, drawn one and lost one. This is impressive form for a team of their size.

Scoring goals has been a big problem for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team. They are the joint second-lowest scorers in the league, with only 11 so far this season. This could pose a big problem for them as Liverpool are averaging two goals a game.

 

  • Team news

In his pre-match press conference, Jurgen Klopp reported no new injuries to the side. Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Joe Gomez and Harvey Elliott all remain side-lined.

However, the boss is beginning to see numbers return to the team. Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson and James Milner were all given minutes on Wednesday in the Champions League. All have trained as normal and pose selection headaches for Klopp.

  • Midfield options

It will be interesting to see who plays in midfield for Liverpool. Klopp has a few options, with Henderson and Milner both returning on Wednesday.

In Liverpool’s last two games they played Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho and Thiago in midfield. This has worked very well, with all three players looking extremely sharp.

The question Klopp will be asking himself is whether they can all go again. Does he want them to play for a third game in a row or will he look to rotate?

If I was in his position, I would let them all play again because of how well they have looked in the last two games. This is probably the best run of games that Chamberlain has put together in a Liverpool shirt. He should be rewarded with more gametime as a result of this.

Fabinho and Thiago have also looked very impressive. With the Merseyside derby next week, it is important to have key players up to speed.  

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