The nightmare start to the year for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool peaked last weekend after a 3-2 loss to then-last placed Swansea at Anfield. With a huge match against Chelsea looming, Klopp has two matches to get his team back on track. Despite the two goals scored against Swansea, the free-flowing style that dominated defenses earlier in the season has disappeared.
Even if Sadio Mane’s absence was always going to make the attack weaker, the fact that his teammates have struggled so much without him is concerning. They have an opportunity to regain some confidence with a win in the second leg of their EFL Cup meeting with Southampton. Liverpool come into this match down 1-0 after their terrible performance in the first leg of this tie.
Loris Karius is pretty clearly the designated cup goalkeeper so he should start this match. Southampton are not a particularly strong attacking team but they do have a few players who can increase the Saints’ lead.
Nathaniel Clyne returned against Swansea but Trent Alexander-Arnold may be given a chance to show what he’s capable of.
Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren should finally get reunited after Matip returned last weekend. While Ragnar Klavan is a capable backup, Matip is still a significantly better defender. Now that his injuries and eligibility concerns are behind him, Matip should be able to step-in and solidify the Reds’ defense.
James Milner continued his stellar season with an assist against Swansea. He may be the most under appreciated player on the team and maybe in the league.
As effective as Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum have been this season, Klopp may decide to not only keep Lallana farther up the field, he could also rest Henderson.
If Klopp keeps Lallana in midfield, either one of Divock Origi or Daniel Sturridge should start on the wing. Origi may get the nod given that he is more comfortable in this position.
Roberto Firmino once again proved just how effective he is when leading the line. It makes sense for Klopp to keep the Brazilian in this position for majority of the rest of the season since the attack has fallen off when he is somewhere else.
Philippe Coutinho hasn’t looked quite as his best since returning from injury. While it wouldn’t be a surprise for Klopp to rest the little magician, the Reds desperately need a win and having him in there significantly increases the chances of that happening.