LIVERPOOL VS SOUTHAMPTON
| Saturday, September 22nd |
Premier League | Anfield
2:00 PM GMT / 3:00 PM BST / 10:00 AM EST
Anfield will host Southampton on Saturday when the Saints travel to Liverpool to test the winning Reds. Jürgen Klopp’s team have won all five of their opening Premier League games, matched only by Chelsea who sit in first on goal differential. Meanwhile, Southampton have managed to win only one of their five league fixtures, beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park at the beginning of September.
It’s been a less-than-stellar start for Mark Hughes. His team sit in 13th place, collecting five points so far through a stretch of matches that the manager would have earmarked for points before the season started. Southampton have faced Burnley (rock bottom), Everton (just a point above Saints), Leicester City (see Everton), Crystal Palace (win!), and Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday when Hughes’ men nearly walked away with three points at St. Marys but wasted a 2-0 lead instead and settled for a draw.
Danny Ings converted a penalty for Southampton at Brighton and has been a spark for the Saints since moving to the south coast, but the striker will be ineligible to play against Liverpool due to the terms of his loan agreement. Hughes may even have a bit of striker crisis on his hands given that Manolo Gabbiadini is a doubt for the match after picking up a hamstring injury in training this week.
Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk having only Shane Long and/or Charlie Austin to deal with for ninety minutes sounds pretty good since neither striker has scored a goal yet this season.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Clyne, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keïta, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Klopp doesn’t have any fresh injury concerns ahead of the game. Adam Lallana, Dominic Solanke, and Dejan Lovren remain unavailable but Roberto Firmino is already back and scoring following an incident with Tottenham Hotspur’s Jan Vertongen that left the Brazilian with a scratched eye. Firmino will step back into the starting lineup after his late winner against Paris Saint-Germain, with Daniel Sturridge, who put two into PSG’s net and is on an extended/impressive injury-free run (knock on me), likely heading to the bench.
Naby Keita should return to the starting XI against Southampton after missing the match against PSG entirely. The rest of Klopp’s midfield selections are anybody’s guess but I’m predicting that James Milner returns to the bench. It makes sense to give Milner some more recovery time after the audacious levels of tenacity he showed at Anfield on Tuesday.
Fabinho’s status is still up in the air regardless of his late-late substitution against PSG. I think Klopp wanted the Brazilian midfielder to experience the applause at the final whistle from the pitch, to look up to the cheering fans and take in the moment. On the other hand, why would the manager slight late-substitution-master Joël Matip if he didn’t intend on making it a jumping off point for Fabinho and his big, Liverpool adventure?
I’m also including Nathaniel Clyne on the team sheet for this one in an effort to gain some predictions cred in the event that Clyne actually plays.
Any Premier League match is difficult to win but considering the form that Liverpool has been in, the match being played at Anfield, Southampton’s struggles against Liverpool in the passed couple of seasons and the Saints lack of goals, this is a great opportunity for the Reds to get another three points and a sixth win in the league.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “Everybody at Melwood loves Danny Ings. It’s good that he can’t play (against us) because he’s always a threat. We follow his games really closely. He’s still one of our boys.”
Mark Hughes: “You have to say their (Liverpool’s) first XI is very, very strong, as strong as any team in the league but now their squad—which will sustain them throughout the season—that now looks really strong as well, so that could be the difference for them this year.”
Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Darren Cann, Mick McDonough Fourth official: Lee Mason
Kickoff is set for 2:00 PM GMT/10:00 AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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 the action as it happens.