A few of Rousing The Kop’s columnists had a stab at predicting how Liverpool will line up to face Southampton.
After a lengthy and somewhat annoying international break Liverpool will face Southampton on Saturday. A few injuries during the international break will force Jürgen Klopp to make some changes to his winning combination against Watford which put them on top of the league table. Here’s how a few of Rousing The Kop’s columnists think Liverpool will line up at St. Mary’s Stadium.
Who does Michael Baddeley think Klopp will send out to face the Saints?
XI: Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Can, Mane Sturridge, Firmino
By far the best defence we can field and Klopp will go with these five. The only way I think someone will break into the defensive line up is if there’s an injury, but with nothing being reported then it’s obvious these guys will play.
Can and Hendo to keep their place in midfield, the only change being the obvious one with Lallana being injured. Adam missing out is a big loss to Klopp as we’ve looked a lot better with him than we have without him. Gini will probably push forward and replace Lallana in the more advanced role, not a bad replacement eh?
Mané and Firmino are nailed on, however, with Coutinho coming back from internationals after playing in both games for Brazil and also maybe having a knock, I think it might be too much for him resulting in Klopp turning to Studge.
Prediction: I’m quite nervous going into this game. We’ve looked brilliant all season, but Southampton away is never an easy game and will be made harder without Lallana and maybe Coutinho. It will be a real test of our credentials that’s for sure. A bit of a contradiction to what I’ve said, but I am going to go for a positive result. A 3-2 win with Mané bagging on his return, although I wouldn’t be too surprised if we dropped points.
What does Damon Savenelli expect?
XI: Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Emre Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Mane, Sturridge
GK: Loris Karius – The newcomer finally had a few chances to show what he is capable of against Watford, making some notable saves. I expect him to get the nod once more over Simon Mignolet.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne – Liverpool’s most reliable player will obviously be keeping his place in the starting 11. It will be interesting to see how he copes with the likes of Nathan Redmond and Charlie Austin.
CBs: Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren – I expect these two to once again be paired together at the back. Matip has been one of Liverpool’s most reliable defenders while Lovren has also been decent.
LB: James Milner – Liverpool’s vice-captain will start over Alberto Moreno. Milner has adapted to the left back role pretty quickly and will look to put in another solid performance today.
CM: Emre Can – Since returning from injury the German has been in decent form. With two goals in two games, he will be looking to get on the scoresheet once again.
CM: Jordan Henderson – The Liverpool skipper has been in impeccable form thus far and I expect him to lead, not only the midfield but also the team to victory.
CM: Georginio Wijnaldum – Due to Adam Lallana being ruled out with a groin injury, I expect the Dutchman to start.
LW: Roberto Firmino – The Brazilian has been on fire and will be moved to the wing in order to compensate for the injured Coutinho.
RW: Sadio Mane – Mane will make his return to St.Mary’s where he will look to keep up his impressive form.
ST: Daniel Sturridge – Frustrated by his recent lack of playing time, Sturridge will get the start due to the absence of Coutinho. He will hope to take advantage of his opportunities and bag a few goals.
Onto Rutwiz Kulkarni’s predicted lineup!
XI: Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Emre Can, Wijnaldum
Jürgen Klopp will not be in a mood to change his hugely successful 4-3-3 formation this season and the Southampton game won’t be an exception. Loris Karius will resume his regular duty as the first-choice goalkeeper and so will Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner at right back and left back respectively. Dejan Lovren, who missed the Watford game through illnes,s will replace Lucas and join his centre back partner Joel Matip.
England and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will start in his new no. 6 role after impressing in both games for his national side. Emre Can will also keep his place in the midfield after appearing to find his feet in an attacking role from which he has scored in consecutive games for the first time in his Anfield career.
After picking up a minor injury while playing for his national side when he was subbed off early in the game, Adam Lallana is likely to start on bench. This news was not received well by the fans as the former Southampton man has worked tirelessly in that engine of a midfield and has been a regular on the scoresheet.
But thanks to the brilliant squad depth that Liverpool possesses, Gini Wijnaldum, another player with equal attributes and impact can replace the injured Lallana. After finally getting his first goal as a Red, the Dutch midfielder will be hungry for more goals, as he always is, when he’ll start in midfield after four league games.
The most notable absentee in the lethal Liverpool attack is likely to be Philippe Coutinho after scans revealed a tight hamstring. It’s still unclear whether he’ll start or not but the Brazilian is likely to start off the bench. If Coutinho does fail to be fit enough to start, it will be a huge blow for Jürgen Klopp and his side as Coutinho has been the best player for Liverpool so far and a part of the deadliest trio of the Premier League at the moment. The former Inter Milan man has not only been scoring goals but also creating them and one of the noticeable changes in his game has been his unpredictability, where he’s not just trying to score worldies from 30-yards out but to make fantastic passes to a better-placed player.
In his absence, Roberto Firmino, who played combined 10 minutes for Brazil on international duty, is likely to switch to a wider role with Sadio Mane on the opposite flank. Now it’s a big debate whether to start Sturridge or Origi upfront but I think Sturridge will get the nod here. While he does not bring the physicality which Origi does, he does have the capability to turn the game on his own and is still one of the top marksmen in the Premier League. His current goal-draught in the league isn’t expected to last long after his wonderful display in the EFL cup game against Tottenham and his impressive cameo against Watford, where he was unlucky to score, and his brilliant goal-scoring performance against Scotland for England are definitely positive signs.