Southampton v Liverpool Preview: Can Klopp's Reds overcome a rejuvenated Saints team?

Virgil van Dijk is one of a number of Liverpool players whom will return to the south coast this weekend as Southampton entertain the Reds on Sunday.

Southampton v Liverpool Preview: Can Klopp's Reds overcome a rejuvenated Saints team?
(Photo by David Blunsden/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Another eagerly anticipated weekend of Premier League action is upon us and one eye-opening fixture takes place on Sunday as Mauricio Pellegrino's Southampton host Champions League hopefuls Liverpool at St. Mary's. 

The two outfits have obvious history considering the number of footballers who have made the switch from Hampshire to Merseyside, specifically in recent history, the latest being Virgil van Dijk exiting the Saints for a record £75 million last month.

Other names include Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who signed for the Reds in August from Arsenal

Southampton have seen a minor upturn in fortunes over the last fortnight or so; the club racked up their first league victory in fourteen attempts last weekend when they surpassed a downbeat West Bromwich Albion courtesy of goals from; Mario Lemina, Jack Stephens and James Ward-Prowse.

Pellegrino's men have also seen a draw at home to Brighton & Hove Albion and an FA Cup triumph over Watford

As for their opponents, Liverpool, they had to be enforced into a dramatic home draw against fellow top-four challengers Tottenham Hotspur but did see a win prior to that on the road at Huddersfield Town - which followed two successive defeats to Swansea City and West Brom in the Premier League and FA Cup

Just the one concern for Saints

Fortunately, for Mauricio Pellegrino, Southampton have little to worry about on the injury front as the measly one individual remains on the sidelines.

Striker Charlie Austin continues to recover from a hamstring injury which he suffered during the hectic festive schedule

Manolo Gabbiadini was named on the team sheet last weekend for the trip to the Hawthorns, however, was an unused substitute but may feature this Sunday for the visit of Liverpool. 

 

Reds' defenders on the mend

Whilst Virgil van Dijk is heavily likely to start upon his return to the south coast, Jürgen Klopp has got one or two defenders back in contention following injuries they had suffered. 

Estonian centre-half Ragnar Klavan is said to be training with the first-team once again after suffering a muscle injury, as well as full-back Alberto Moreno, but the latter may have a battle on his hands to replace an in-form Andrew Robertson

The journey to Southampton is thought to come too early for Joe Gomez though, whose picked up a minor knee problem. 

 

What the managers had to say

Of course, much of the attention of this weekend's encounter will be on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk but the Dutchman's former boss has had this say on the subject; "Every single person has got an opinion about everybody and we have to respect that. But I think our fans are really respectful with ex-players.''

The Argentinian also says the supporters should focus on the Southampton team, rather than ex-players of the club; "I think I prefer that our fans are focused on supporting our players and getting behind us. Our players have to be focusing on trying to give to our supporters good feeling, good attitude, with energy to try to be 100% on the pitch."

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp realises that the visit down south will certainly not be an easy task and is expecting an entertaining game this Sunday afternoon; ''It will not be a friendly game; we fight for everything, they fight for everything. The quality of the squad is really, really good. They will want to show it.''