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The Saints Preview

Finally, the day we've been waiting for all week. It's Friday! The end of the work week, the beginning of the weekend, my birthday weekend in fact, but more importantly the reds are back in action. I've been looking forward for this game since the final whistle of our dramatic win over Tottenham, as I'm sure all reds have. That hasn't prevented a few nerves creeping into my mind and stomach midweek though. But as kick off is dawning upon us, I find myself feeling more and more confident about the game. Results wise, everything points towards Southampton being in really good shape. 3 wins out of their last 5, with 2 defeats coming away from home at the emirates and old Trafford. That defeat to united was certainly a game they could take confidence from after an impressive performance, almost leaving Manchester with a point. Of course 1 of those victories was against spurs a few weeks ago at St Mary's. We all know how difficult a side spurs are to pick up 3 points against. So saints fans are very optimistic for this game, and given it's a Friday night, coupled with their growing hatred towards Liverpool, we could be in for a real exciting game here. Hopefully it's only exciting for us Liverpool fans, and not for the neutrals, saints or city supporters. I found myself with a few spare hours yesterday before work, so I thought I'd give the Brighton vs Southampton game a watch. Straight away looking at their starting line up I noticed some key players missing, Lemina and Vestergaard. Now I don't watch Southampton play very often, so I can't hold my hand up and honestly say I know how good or bad these players are, or how integral they actually are to Southamptons team. Though every time we have played them recently, they are the players that have caught my attention. Fast forward a very boring and uneventful 90 minutes, and I discovered nothing from their game to fear. Their goal came from extremely slow passing in the defensive third by Brighton, and with Southhampton's new counter pressing tactic brought in by Hasenhuttl's methods, they won the ball back in a dangerous area and went on to score. It was quite impressive how the four saints players closed in, won the ball back and countered with speed on the break. That won't be a problem for Liverpool though. A lot has been made of the thought that only Liverpool can beat Liverpool in this game. To be honest I agree with that statement, the only way I can see Liverpool not picking up all 3 points is if we don't show up and make costly errors. However, we need to stop letting Liverpool teams from the past scar our belief. This isn't one of those teams. This season we have proven over and over again that we know how to win in games where we haven't played well. In games where we've had some terrible decisions go against us. In games where we've faced a really stubborn and robust defence. Yet, we've won 24 games in 32 outings, with only one defeat. A record that only an unbelievably Boss team can achieve. Any other season we'd be at least 9 points clear of the chasing pack, which shows just how good our side is. The biggest question marks in this game will be what team does Klopp select. Could we see a few changes made, with the porto game in mind, or will he keep the same side that won against Tottenham? I'll start off with the team I believe he will pick. Ali, Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robbo, Fabinho, Hendo, Lallana, Salah, Firmino, Mane. The back 5 picks itself really, I know lovren is back in contention, but I'd keep him out of this one. He usually gets a lot of stick from the saints fans, and I don't trust him to handle it. I believe he starts Fabinho and Hendo, saving Millie and Gini for Porto, with the introduction of Lallana. I think this will be Ads role for the remainder of the season, playing against the so called weaker opposition in the premier league, helping the lads at the front with the counter pressing and providing a creative spark. The front three are an ever present for Klopp as long as they're fit, so no surprises here. My team selection would pretty much be the exact same, with the exception of Bobby being replaced by Origi, shifting Mane to the central role and Divock on the left. The last few games I think Bobby has looked a bit off the pace. I know he scored the opener on Sunday and his work rate is relentless, but I think his link up play has been sloppy. Maybe a rest is needed as he started both Brazils games in the international break. Whatever team Klopp selects I'm certain they will be right up for this one, and get the job done. It will be a battle, and the atmosphere will be hostile, but with recent away games against United, Everton and Bayern, I can't see St Mary's installing any fear into the lads. In my head everything points to a Liverpool win, it won't be easy, we'll have to fight for it, but I have faith in this Liverpool team. Prediction: 3 points and back top of the table, 2 nil Liverpool, with Salah back on the scoresheet. C'mon you Redmen!

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