Liverpool travel to play Southampton tonight in the Premier League as Jürgen Klopp’s side looks for its first win in three games.
Southampton are also four games without a win, as it happens. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side has struggled to find the net of late, with just one goal in those four matches for The Saints.
Klopp is without Joël Matip, Naby Keïta, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas for this game. It’s possible that Matip, Keïta, Jota and Tsimikas are all back in contention for the first team at some stage in January.
Gomez and Van Dijk face longer roads back and neither is expected to feature before May, or April at the very earliest.
Alisson Becker will continue in goals for Liverpool. In front of him, Klopp faces his first tough decision – who should partner Fabinho in central defence. I believe Rhys Williams could be called upon after missing out on The Reds’ 0-0 draw at Newcastle. Nat Phillips played at St James’ Park but it’s a toss-up between Williams and Phillips for this game.
The big news in midfield is that Klopp has said Thiago Alcântara could start.
Speaking at his pre-Southampton press conference about the return of Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri as subs against Newcastle, Klopp said:
“I think of the 20 minutes, 12 round about were brilliant and then he felt the intensity, but that’s normal.
“He trained exactly twice with the team. There is still some physical work to do, still some rhythm to get.
“Shaq is back and that’s, by the way, the best news – the boys are back and, as far as I know in the moment, nobody got injured, which is a very important thing.
“That means we can probably go with the same squad to Southampton.”
It remains to be seen whether Klopp feels that Thiago is now fit enough to start at Southampton. It’s more than likely that we will see the Spain international on the bench again. The Liverpool midfield could consist of Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It would be a first Premier League start of the campaign for ‘The Ox’ if so.
With Jota out injured and Divock Origi struggling to impress when he does get any game-time, Klopp will probably stick with a full-strength front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané.
Predicted Liverpool lineup (4-3-3) vs Southampton: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams R, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
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