It’s been eleven years since Liverpool last took full points at St. Mary’s, but Brendan Rodgers and the boys will be looking keep their march on Europe going by taking out Southampton later today.
After putting in an impressive cameo performance last weekend against Swansea City, Joe Allen makes a return to the starting eleven in place of youngster Raheem Sterling who drops to the bench. The Welshman came on with the scores tied at 3-3 and played a massive role in gaining control of the midfield and turning the tide back in the favour of the Reds — with the eventual winner coming through Jordan Henderson.
The 23-year old match winner keeps his place in the midfield alongside Allen and Reds skipper Steven Gerrard. The three of them showed great fluidity last weekend to interchange positions and cover for one another as they laid siege to the Swansea net. I’m sure we’ll see the same today as they try to protect the backline of Jon Flanagan, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson.
At the very back, Simon Mignolet keeps his place in the starting line-up, and up top, predictably, Daniel Sturridge partners Luis Suarez with Brazilian magician Philippe Coutinho expected to play a “free-role” behind the two attackers.
From the bench, Rodgers has reserve ‘keeper Brad Jones, defenders Kolo Toure and Aly Cissokho, on-loan Chelsea winger Victor Moses, embattled striker Iago Aspas, as well as youngsters Raheem Sterling and Joao Carlos Teixeira.
On the other side of the pitch, Mauricio Pochettino, as expected, has named a strong line-up as he looks for his third win on the hop over the Reds. Artur Boruc starts between the sticks and he’ll have Calum Chambers, Jose Fonte, Dejan Lovren and soon to be England debutant Luke Shaw in front of him. Jack Cork, Morgan Schneiderlin, Steven Davis and Adam Lallana round out the midfield while Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert play up top.
In reserve, Pochettino has shot stopper Paulo Gazzaniga, Nathaniel Clyne, Maya Yoshida, Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Ramírez, Victor Wanyama, James Ward-Prowse and striker Sam Gallagher.
Be sure to stop by later in the day for all the action, reaction, knee-jerkism and just plain old jerkism as we wrap this one up.