Liverpool have had a good week, winning their opening fixture of the new Premier League season against Norwich City and then lifting the UEFA Super Cup midweek, defeating Premier League rivals Chelsea on penalties. The Merseyside club face Southampton in the Premier League, a tricky game for Jurgen Klopp’s men. Southampton lost their first game of the season against Burnley and will look to bounce back this Saturday against Liverpool.
Although the two teams have a significant difference in the quality and depth of the squads, the Premier League can throw up a few surprises from time to time. How can Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men be a threat to Liverpool on Saturday? Let’s take a look at 3 ways Southampton can hurt Liverpool:
Target Trent Alexander-Arnold
Young Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is a phenomenal talent, who could be one of the best full-backs in the world in a few years time, and has impressed over the last year or so. A very good crosser of the ball from wide areas, while also possessing great energy to go up and down the flanks, Alexander-Arnold can be a threat to most Premier League defences. But, his own defending is, at times, suspect, which is one way that Southampton can take advantage over the weekend.
The duo of Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand could cause some trouble to the English full-back with their direct running and pace, to put in balls into the box.
Man mark Roberto Firmino
Brazilian attacker Roberto Firmino has had a huge impact on Liverpool in the last two games, assisting teammates while also showing good work-rate. The striker was brought on in the second half against Chelsea and played a part in both goals that Liverpool scored, showing just how important he is to the Merseyside club.
Stopping the Brazilian from making clever runs with or without the ball is the key to a Saints victory this weekend. Southampton should use one of their midfield players to drop deep and man-mark Firmino out of the game, and force him to move away from the penalty area. Oriol Romeu, if he starts against Liverpool, could be the person to take up this job and stop Firmino from having an influence on the game.
Liverpool have lost their No. 1 goalkeeper Alisson to injury and he is likely to be out for around 4-6 weeks. Adrian, former West Ham United goalkeeper, who was signed in the summer by Liverpool, deputised for the Brazilian keeper midweek and saved the crucial penalty in the shootout. But, the Spanish keeper also gave away a penalty in the game, which could have proved to be more costly than it eventually did.
Southampton should pepper the Liverpool goal with shots from distance, while also put in early crosses to test the keeper. Adrian didn’t play in the Premier League last season and made just a handful of appearances in cup games, and it remains to be seen if the lack of game time has caused a dip in form over an extended period of time.
And while Klopp has notified of a freak minor injury to the goalkeeper, it is likely he will recover in time to start against the Saints.