Liverpool vs. Southampton
| Saturday, February 1st |
Premier League | Anfield
3:00PM GMT / 10:00AM EST
Southampton will roll up to Anfield on Saturday buoyed by recent wins against Spurs, Leicester City and Crystal Palace and an admirable but ultimately doomed result against Wolves. But the Saints have had difficulty putting in consistent performances this season.
Ralph Hasenhüttl, who was just named to the shortlist of January’s Manager of the Month, has worked some kind of magic on the south coast since signing on just over a year ago. The Austrian kept Southampton up last season after being rock bottom when he arrived. Now, with the help of 14 goals from striker and motivational speaker Danny Ings, Hasenhüttl’s team are 9th in the Premier League. Above Arsenal.
Southampton’s major cause of losing matches is conceding far too many goals. 42 goals have been scored against them this season, that’s about 10 above the average team. Liverpool have conceded only 15. The Saints will have trouble keeping Liverpool off the scoresheet.
Hasenhüttl will be without midfielder Stuart Armstrong for several weeks to due to a hip injury. Cedric is also out with an injury but may not have been available anyway. The Spanish right back could be moving on to Arsenal before the transfer window closes. Cedric’s Southampton contract is up this summer. Hasenhüttl even has a new player ready to fill Cedric’s roll in the squad, with Spur’s Kyle Walker-Peters just signing on loan.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Minamino, Firmino, Salah
Jürgen Klopp won’t be sure of his team sheet for the match just yet. Thursday was a recovery day and Friday’s training could reveal any number of interesting bits of information.
Sadio Mané remains unavailable and Divock Origi just played a lot of competitive football on Wednesday for a player who doesn’t play a lot of competitive football. The manager could look to bring Minamino into the starting XI, filling an attacking position.
I think Klopp will put Fabinho back into the team and either continue with Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson in the midfield or drop one and continue with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Wijnaldum and Henderson have started every Premier League match going back to December 14th against Watford at Anfield. The two have played nearly all of the league minutes on offer this season. Klopp has Naby Keita as an option for rotation and also Adam Lallana could find himself in the mix at some point. I still have no idea about Xherdan Shaqiri’s recovery situation. I refuse to look it up.
After West Ham, Liverpool have officially beaten every team in the league this season. Southampton’s first loss to the Reds came on the second match out of the gate. Liverpool won 2-1 at Saint Marys back in August. Ings got one late on.
Now 19 points ahead of second place Manchester City with a superior goal differential and not a single Premier League loss, Klopp’s team are breaking reality with their results.
It’s another quick turnaround after a difficult away match against the Hammers on Wednesday evening but, as if the players ever needed motivation to give another 500%, there’s a nice break for the first team on the other side of Southampton’s visit.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “Southampton now looks like a pressing machine. Pressing on the highest level. Counter-pressing on the highest level. But playing football, as well.”
Ralph Hasenhüttl: “We go there knowing about their record and the quality of their team, but we don’t play against their record, we play against 11 players and we want to show ourselves how far we have come, how competitive we are, at a fantastic ground and a fantastic crowd and against this fantastic team.”
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistant referees: Simon Beck, Adrian Holmes
Fourth official: David Webb
VAR: Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR: Daniel Robathan
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM GMT/10:00PM 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.