Following the international break, Liverpool re-kick-off their Premier League campaign with a fixture at Anfield against Southampton.
Currently being three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, a win against the Saints would put the pressure on the Pensioners to continue their form.
Liverpool have gone from strength to strength since the embarrassing defeat to Spurs. Having scored ten goals in their last three game, the Reds look good going into this weekend’s fixture.
Southampton are still a dangerous opponent – the football they’re playing this season may not be the organised machine we’ve seen before but players like Manolo Gabbiadini and Steven Davis are always a threat.
If Liverpool carry their momentum into this game and walk away victorious then it’s fair to assume we’ll likely march on the top four – a win against Chelsea in a couple of weeks may be crucial – and, since Man City have the Premier League title all but won, the fight now between Liverpool, Man United, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal will be to fill the remaining three Champions League spots.
FWIW, if the Reds add some steel to their defence in January, I think the Liverpool will finish fourth – ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal.
It’s no secret that a lot of Liverpool fans despise the international break – as many top-tier football fans should – but it’s not been too bad this time around.
Sadio Mane was sent home early as he sustained an injury while on duty for Senegal but it now seems he’ll be fit to face his former club on Saturday.
There’s even whispers that Adam Lallana may be fit enough to feature against Southampton – it would be his first game for Liverpool since the Reds 3-0 win against Hertha Berlin in July.
Phil Coutinho has been deemed fit to play and is likely to make his return for Liverpool this weekend. The thought of Lallana, Coutinho, Mane, Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino sharing the field is a mouth-watering prospect to more than just me, I assume.
I’d expect a front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah to start the game, with Coutinho coming off the bench in the second half but I’m not sure Jurgen Klopp would throw Lallana in the deep end so soon.
Mario Lemina is expected to make a return for Southampton this weekend, after missing their last three games, but defender Wesley Hoedt is expected to miss out.
Liverpool (last six results in all competitions) –
Liverpool 0-0 Man United
Maribor 0-7 Liverpool
Spurs 4-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield
Liverpool 3-0 Maribor
West Ham 1-4 Liverpool
Southampton (last six results in all competitions) –
Southampton 0-1 Man United
Stoke 2-1 Southampton
Southampton 2-2 Newcastle
Southampton 1-0 West Brom
Brighton 1-1 Southampton
Southampton 0-1 Burnley
I expect that it will be a difficult game for Liverpool, much like their fixtures against Palace and Newcastle, I think it will be a slender margin.
My initial instinct tells me Liverpool win 2-0 but, as we tend to not keep clean sheets when we win, I think Klopp’s men will push hard to out-score the opponent.
After that consideration, I predict Liverpool will win 3-1. Southampton have a very tight defence and I wouldn’t expect the Reds to put six past the Saints.
If you’d like to strongly disagree with me or remind me of what I’ve written after Liverpool lose 7-0, you can find me on Twitter – @StevenCarsonNR.