Despite high expectations in his Anfield debut, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool once again only managed a draw against Rubin Kazan. The team really should have pulled out the win after putting the opponents under immense pressure during the last quarter of the match.
Up next, the Reds face Ronald Koeman and Southampton at home once again. This match is important for Liverpool since the team really needs to build some momentum for the rest of the season.
Simon Mignolet has been playing very well as of late and he has often been the reason why the team has remained in the game. He will need to continue playing well against a Southampton side that has scored 15 goals this year.
Nathaniel Clyne will have his hands full against Southampton, he will be facing a tricky winger in Dusan Tadic. Since Liverpool aren’t exactly great at defending crosses, Clyne will need to keep track of Tadic since he is one of the league leaders in firing the ball into the box.
Martin Skrtel has been inconsistent at best this season but he is still a much better player than either Kolo Toure or Dejan Lovren. On the other hand, Mamadou Sakho has been a bright spot in the team the past few matches and he should carry that form into this Sunday. Both will need to work together to keep Graziano Pelle from taking over the match, the extremely physical striker already has 5 goals this season.
Alberto Moreno has been excellent after being benched earlier in the season and that strong form should continue this weekend. There are a few players who could lineup across from Moreno, Steven Davis, Sadio Mane and James Ward-Prowse have all played out on the right wing for the Saints, but Ward-Prowse is the most likely candidate out if the three.
If Ward-Prowse is playing on the wing, that means Lucas Leiva and Emre Can are going to have to work together and try their best to reduce the influence that Mane has on the match. Mane leads his team with 4 assists and keeping him from delivering service to Pelle will really stifle the Southampton attack.
Lucas will likely be the one marking Mane throughout the match while Can will provide support as well as bursting forward whenever the Reds have the ball. The big German has been rejuvenated ever since Klopp’s arrival and he has fit the high-octane style the new manager brought in really well.
The winner of the match will truly come down to whether James Milner, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are able to create scoring chances for themselves and others. Milner is remarkably consistent throughout his time at Anfield and his leadership in the absence of Jordan Henderson is badly needed but it would be helpful if he took more risks rather than taking the safe route all the time.
Coutinho has not been himself the last few weeks and that has sapped the team of a lot of creativity. Lastly, Firmino makes his return to the starting lineup after making a substitute appearance against Rubin Kazan. The Brazilian has not made a huge impact during his short career at Liverpool but this upcoming match is the perfect opportunity for him to remind fans why the team paid a lot of money for him.
Christian Benteke also returns as the lead striker as Divock Origi has struggled while Daniel Sturridge is once again dealing with an injury. Benteke almost won the game for the Reds on Thursday but he unfortunately hit the post.
He will hopefully get a goal this weekend to boost his confidence but a lot of that may come down to how his teammates play, Benteke needs service to make an impact. Also, having to deal with Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk certainly doesn’t help.
Via – Lineup Builder