View from the Other Side: Southampton on Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool

Rousing the Kop spoke to Chris Hughes from Saints Marching to discuss a few things ahead of Liverpool vs. Southampton.

On Sunday, Liverpool plays their third last game of the season against Southampton which could either make or break Liverpool’s chances of top four and Champions League football.

The Reds have already played the Saints three times this season, failing to win on each occasion and crashed out of the EFL Cup semi-finals at the hands of Claude Puel’s side.

For this weekend’s clash with the Saints, Rousing the Kop has put forward six questions to Chris Hughes, a writer and site expert for Saints and massive Southampton fan, for his take on the upcoming game, Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s season as a whole.

With Southampton’s game against Liverpool on Sunday, what would a win for the Saints mean?

I think it’d mean more for the club and the fans than many may think. You may have read that Puel’s future is apparently up in the air according to L’Equipe, and I know Saints fans aren’t exactly upset about that.

I think a win would do a lot for the team’s confidence too after three games without one. Plus it’s probably the most hostile reception that any team seems to get at St. Mary’s nowadays, so to win at Anfield would do a lot for the doubters.

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What are you expecting to see on Sunday?

I’m hoping to see an improved Saints side. I think the booing at St. Mary’s will have hit them hard and hopefully as professionals they can channel that into a good performance.

Saying that I’m pretty sure Liverpool have only lost twice since February so I’m not expecting an easy game by any stretch – I’m just hoping the Saints players can remember the League Cup semi-finals!

With Southampton having quite a few ups and downs this season – from the euphoria of reaching the EFL Cup final to the crushing lows of losing that same final and the loss of the club’s team captain – would you consider this season a success or do improvements need to be made?

One thing that needs to be appreciated with this season is that it was always going to be a tough one.

Puel plays a more defensive style of football to the free-flowing style we saw under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman so naturally it looks like we’re doing a lot worse. But when you consider the long-term injuries we’ve had (Austin, van Dijk) I don’t think we can be disappointed with a top-half finish.

We obviously need to mention Van Dijk. With strong speculation of a move away from Southampton and with Liverpool considered one of the front-runners for his signature, what are your views from a Southampton fan’s point of view regarding Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool?

I think it’s always going to be a sore subject. I think it depends entirely on the manner of how he leaves (presuming he does). That’ll effect how myself and Saints take it. Liverpool might be third at the moment but I know the idea of losing him to a team like Chelsea doesn’t hit as hard as him going to the Reds

READ MORE: Reports claim Virgil Van Dijk verbally agrees to join Liverpool

What do you make of Liverpool continuously making trips to the South Coast at Southampton’s expense?

I think it’s varied from player to player. I think it depends on things like longevity, because I know I was sore when Adam Lallana left but now when I can see him doing great things I can also respect the 250-odd appearances he made over the years.

I think with players like Mané and Lovren, who have jumped ship at the first sniff of Liverpool, give Saints fans more reason to be annoyed.

Finally, from a rival fan’s point of view, what would you say about Liverpool’s somewhat schizophrenic season?

I think next season is going to be make or break for Klopp. Everyone loves his character and obviously, the side are third now but it hasn’t been that good of a year in my opinion.

I know Liverpool fans that talked up his performance last season before he’d brought in his ‘own style of players’ but since that’s happened they’re still not really competing for the title.

I think if they can win silverware next season this will be taken as a stepping stone to success but as it stands for the money spent I think it’s difficult to be considered hugely successful.

And there you have it! Do you agree with Chris’ opinions? Let us know!

We’d like to say a massive thank you to Chris Hughes and everyone at Saints Marching for their involvement in this article. Check out their Twitter page at @SaintsMarching_ and if you want to hear more of Chris’ opinions you can follow him at @ChrisHughes1996.

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