It’s been tough sledding for the Reds in 2017. With only a single win — an uninspiring one-nil victory in the FA Cup replay against League 2 Plymouth Argyle — in six outings, the free-scoring, steamrolling Reds of early 2016/17 seem a distant memory. They looked flat again versus Swansea at the weekend, conceding the three first shots on target after an insipid first half. What's worse, upcoming opponents Southampton clearly had Liverpool's number in the first leg, sitting back contentedly and striking on the counter, creating enough chances that the one-nil scoreline flattered the visitors.
On their end, the Saints followed up their first leg triumph with a robbery defeat at the hands of Burnley before smashing reigning champions Leicester 3-0 at the weekend. Defensive bedrock and Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk looks set to miss the match with an ankle injury, but will be subject to a late fitness test.
Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner
Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum
Origi, Firmino, Coutinho
With games coming thick and fast — an FA Cup date with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday is followed by a visit from pack leaders Chelsea on Tuesday — some rotation must be expected, but injuries make for slim pickings, particularly in midfield. Assuming the EFL Cup semi-finals takes precedence over the fourth round of the FA Cup, a strong team can be expected against the Saints. Loris Karius will continue his role as designated cup keeper, and Klopp is likely to reintroduce Joël Matip and roll out his first-choice defensive unit for the first time since the clash with West Ham in early December.
Jordan Henderson's heel injury won't be enough to keep the captain out of the line-up, and Philippe Coutinho looks set to continue getting starts in his search for match fitness. The continued absence of Sadio Mané — currently set to play an AfCoN quarter-final against Cameroon on Saturday — leaves Klopp to choose between misfiring strikers Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge, with the inclusion of either man allowing Adam Lallana to drop back into his more effective midfield role, giving Emre Can a much-needed rest.
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST Wednesday on Sky Sports 1/HD in the UK and beIN Sports in the US. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.