24 Oct 2015

Klopp's lineup vs. Southampton: £61m Liverpool-duo return? Drop 'amazing' star? Surprise start for Teixeira?

Two games, two draws, and only one goal scored. Sounds very much like the dying throes of the Brendan Rodgers era, and if Jurgen Klopp is to avoid further unflattering comparisons with Rodgers, he needs to getting some wins under his belt, starting with Sunday's Premier League clash with Southampton.

Pre-match news:

* During his Friday press conference, Klopp confirmed that Daniel Sturridge is having 'another scan' on his knee, which probably means he won't play on Sunday.

* On whether he'll start with two up-front against Southampton: "Of course, it is an option. It is possible we can play like this, but I don’t know at this moment if we will play on Sunday with two strikers".

* On Benteke and Firmino: "They are two new options – very important options – for Sunday.”

Klopp also made the following statement, which I find a little concerning:

“We started to analyse Southampton this morning [i.e. Friday morning]. We were together for an hour and I know much more about them. I saw the game against Chelsea – not too bad! I knew something and now I know more.”

If Klopp and his team only started preparing for Southampton on Friday, then that leaves just two days to figure out a way to beat them. Is that enough time? Surely, preparation and planning should take place over a long period of time?

Given the injury situation, I don't foresee Klopp making too many changes, but if it was down to me:

* Lallana would be dropped. Yes, he's a skillful player, but his end product is atrocious. Whether it's crossing, final balls into the box, or set-pieces, he just can't seem to make the difference, and it's having a negative impact on the team. Lallana is 27; he's in the prime of his career, and he has repeatedly failed to step-up when needed this year. Additionally, he's provided just ONE assist in the last 38 hours football for Liverpool, and that is just unacceptable.

* Joao Carlos Teixeira deserves a chance, and he should come in for Lallana. The Portuguese youngster may totally crash and burn, but we'll never know until he gets an opportunity. There's also the possibility that he may actually be good for the team, and it's worth trying to find out.

* Benteke should immediately come in for Origi. Even if Sturridge is fit, I'd keep him on the bench and play Benteke, whose hold-up play is superior to Origi's. Ditto Firmino, who should come straight into the starting line-up. Both he and Benteke need to build match-fitness, so play them as much as possible (and remove them later in games if necessary).

* Drop the 4321 formation. Liverpool don't three central midfielders at home, and playing that way means an attacking player is sacrificed. The Reds are getting next to nothing in attack from Emre Can and Milner (the allegedly 'amazing' Can, for example, didn't create a single change against the 10-men of Rubin Kazan), so Klopp should (IMO) revert to 4231. My preferred line-up:

---------------- Bogdan
Clyne ---- Skrtel -- Sakho ---- Moreno
----------- Lucas -- Milner
---- Teixeira - Coutinho -- Firmino
--------------- Benteke

Predicting a 2-1 victory for Liverpool, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"A lot of what Klopp will try will depend on which players are available, but he will find a way of winning. Southampton's form...has been steadily improving [but] I still cannot see them getting anything at Anfield, though".

That's a wildly optimistic statement from Lawro. Southampton have smashed in 14 goals in their last 4 games, including putting three past Chelsea. Conversely, Liverpool have scored only 3 goals in the last 4 games, so it's clear that Koeman's team post a significant threat.

PREDICTION LEAGUE

My prediction: *Updated* 2-2. You have until Sunday @ 4pm to get your predictions in. Good luck!

Author: Jaimie K



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