Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have yet to win a match in the New Year. They do however, have a perfect opportunity to not only get that elusive victory but also build some positive momentum before they face Manchester United this weekend with their match against Southampton in the EFL Cup.
Loris Karius is the cup goalkeeper for now so he should get another start in this match. Any chance the young player gets only helps him adjust to his new team and it helps even more when the Reds are playing against Premier League competition.
Nathaniel Clyne hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks and not having Mane in front of him certainly doesn’t help things. Still, Clyne has shown the ability to bounce back when necessary and he should be able to before facing a much tougher test against United.
While the Saints aren’t the most dangerous team, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan will have to remain at their best to make sure that their teammates don’t have to score a whole lot to win the game.
Alberto Moreno will likely start again since James Milner has a minor injury. The Spaniard played very well against Plymouth and more performances such as that one will bring him back into Klopp’s good graces sooner rather than later.
With Jordan Henderson missing this match, Klopp may go with the midfield of Emre Can, Kevin Stewart and Georginio Wijnaldum. While this combination does not have the finesse or speed of the usual trio, their physicality should bother the Saints’ midfield.
Adam Lallana may move up given Philippe Coutinho’s continued absence and Sadio Mane’s unavailability. Lallana’s confidence has gone through the roof this season and that has led to him having a strong campaign.
Divock Origi has come back to earth after his brilliant run of scoring. However, he may be able to net a goal or two since Southampton’s defense hasn’t had a clean sheet since mid-December.
Roberto Firmino may return to a more central role soon when Coutinho returns but he remains a winger for now. His ability to link-up with both Origi and Lallana will be key to breaking down Southampton’s defense.