For Liverpool fans, the theme of the 2020-21 season has been injuries and disappointment, with the squad struggling to overcome a crippling injury crisis and dropping not just out of the title race a year after winning the league but likely to finish outside of the top four.
They haven’t been the only side hit hard by injuries and likely to finish below expectations because of it, though. Upcoming opponents Southampton, having come into the season dreaming of the European places, were also hit hard and find themselves sat in 15th.
The Saints are ten points clear of the drop and comfortable on that front, but they’re a long way off the top half of the table and as with Liverpool’s underperformance, much of that can be blamed on injuries. And as with Liverpool, many of their injury issues remain.
On Saturday, they will be without midfielder Oriol Romeu, striker Danny Ings, and fullback Ryan Bertrand, all of whom would be regular starters for them if fit. Rotational piece Will Smallbone will also be unavailable, along with Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino.
As with Liverpool, then, what remains of the current season seems as much something to survive as anything, with the focus already turning the offseason and with it the chance to get healthy, to bring in new players, and to get ready to go again for 2021-22.