With Southampton traveling to Liverpool on Saturday in an effort to take some points from the Reds on the league leader’s unbeaten journey to their first Premier League title, we found some relevant questions in an old shoe box. They’re important questions that require important answers.
- Jürgen Klopp claimed a certain affinity with Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl. The two bosses came to the Premier League by way of the Bundesliga and Klopp would have followed first hand Hasenhüttl’s rise from the German second division in 2015 when he brought FC Ingolstadt 04 up to the big show for the first time. Ingolstadt’s stock plummeted after Hasenhüttl left for RB Leipzig in 2016 but the Austrian has continued to build a solid reputation as a manager who knows his job pretty well. Did you know about Ralph Hasenhüttl before he joined Southampton? Give us your short compendium on the man.
- Southampton are the underdogs going into the match and the prospects for the Saints getting a positive result against Liverpool, at Anfield, are bleak. But we’ve lately seen some cracks in Liverpool’s solidity that Hasenhüttl likely knows how to exploit should Klopp’s team commit any heart-stopping errors on Saturday. So far Liverpool have been able to win games regardless of their performance levels but tired legs could lead to an increase in mistakes on the pitch. There’s a break after Southampton until Liverpool’s next match against Norwich City and therefore an opportunity for Klopp’s squad to have a rest. But with the team just recovering from Wednesday’s win at West Ham, some in Klopp’s first team may be starting their break early. What lineup do you think the manager picks?
- Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, and Virgil van Dijk all transferred to Liverpool from Southampton. There was time when the Saints had a steady stream of talented players leaving every transfer window, filling the club’s account but eventually eroding away the squad’s potency. Poor managerial appointments have also contributed to Southampton’s recent downfall. Hasenhüttl is the club’s fifth manager in the time that Klopp has been at Liverpool. Ronald Koeman, Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino, and the one and only Mark Hughes fill out the list. If you had to describe Mark Hughes to a police officer, how would you do it?
- Danny Ings is a keen poacher and all-around take advantager of other team’s mistakes in their own box. Liverpool are more likely to be punished by Ings for their errors than they were at West Ham on Wednesday night. Ings has amassed 14 goals this season, tied for 3rd most goals in the league with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marcus Rashford. The former Liverpool striker recently spoke very highly of Liverpool’s medical staff and credited them with his incredible form. Ings spent a huge amount time on Merseyside recovering from an ACL injury before moving on, never making a obvious mark in the club’s history but known to be one of the good ones. Ings scored against Liverpool in the reverse fixture at St. Mary’s in August and will be trouble again for Klopp’s defensive line this weekend. If Ings does score at Anfield, would it be okay if he celebrated the goal? Or should he do the “it’s just business” raised apology hands?
- Jürgen Klopp has truly created something special at Liverpool and, I think, in the football world. He brought a way of doing things that’s not only caring and instructive but also intense and demanding while simultaneously getting results. Just look at the Premier League table. Liverpool’s 19-goal lead at the top is really something. Jürgen Klopp is adamant that nothing has been won yet, and it’s true that 14 matches remain to be played, but it would take a catastrophic breakdown in the team for the title to slip through their grasp. And all the evidence suggests that Liverpool are only getting stronger and harder to beat. Are we witness to one of the all-time greatest football teams, and if so, does that make us the all-time greatest fans?