This weekend brings us the 13th gameweek of the 2021/22 Premier League season, and the season has been an all-round exciting experience for all. There is a huge amount of talent and quality on show in the league this season, and with more than half of the season to go, the fans are excited to drink in every moment of action. This weekend, Liverpool host Southampton at Anfield, as the Merseyside Reds look to put pressure on their title-rivals Man City and Chelsea.
The Reds have been in brilliant form all season, and it was evident in last week’s win against Arsenal. They bounced back from the shock defeat at West Ham, to obliterate Arsenal 4-0, and prove that the loss was just a minor bump in the road. Jurgen Klopp’s men followed up the win against the Gunners with another win in the midweek against Porto in the Champions League. Klopp was able to rest many of his stars, with the Reds already qualified for the last-16 stage of the UCL. The rotational players took full advantage of the opportunity provided to them, as they performed well in a 2-0 victory at home. Based on the last two performances, it seems Liverpool is back to their very best and will be looking to continue the same form against Southampton.
Southampton suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road last time out, with Norwich stunning the Saints to grab a late winner. They were expected to cruise to an easy win against bottom-of-the-table club Norwich, but the Canaries showed great character to get the win, which was just their second of the season. The loss put Southampton in the 13th position in the Premier League, six points behind 6th placed Wolves. Their tricky period of games continues against Liverpool, with games against Brighton, Arsenal, Leicester City and West Ham to come in the next weeks. Ralph Hasenhutl will be hoping his players can show better form against what is a much better opposition on Saturday.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Date: Saturday, 27th November 2021
Time: 15:00 HRS BST
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Assistants: Simon Long, Scott Ledger.
Fourth official: Kevin Friend.
VAR: Lee Mason.
Assistant VAR: Simon Beck.
Liverpool have a few injury boosts ahead of the game against Southampton, with midfielders James Milner, Neco Williams, and forward Divock Origi all returning from their injuries against Porto in the midweek fixture. However, a few players are still away from full recovery, with up to 4 players not returning to training yet.
Striker Roberto Firmino and youngster Curtis Jones are expected to miss out on the weekend’s game. Alongside them, defender Joe Gomez and long-term absentee Harvey Elliot have also been ruled out of Saturday’s game.
For Southampton, Moussa Djenepo is set to return to the team after recovering from a knock. Nathan Redmond, who missed the defeat to Norwich last week due to the birth of his son, is also available for selection and will be in contention for the weekend. However, Stuart Armstrong’s return to the squad has been delayed, after manager Ralph Hasenhutl confirmed that the Scottish international is out with a calf injury. There is some good news for the Saints, with defender Jack Stephens returning to training after a two-month layoff following a knee injury. However, it seems unlikely he will be involved against Liverpool and is set to miss the trip to Merseyside.
RAMPANT REDS TO CONTINUE HOME DOMINATION?
Ever since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, Liverpool have turned the stadium into a fortress. He transformed the team and won the support of the Anfield faithful, which contributed heavily to making the ground a dreaded place for the opposition. The atmosphere that the crowd creates at the 53,000-something capacity ground is intimidating and capable of striking fear into the hearts of any newcomer.
Building on that in recent years, Liverpool have proven that they are at their very best at home. They are pretty hard to beat, and teams visiting Anfield need a tremendous effort to get a result there. This season they have continued that form as well, with no losses so far in 6 games played in the league there. Although they suffered hiccups against a resurgent Brighton, they have been unconquerable so far at Anfield. They have scored a whopping 14 goals in 6 games at home, which not only showcases how comfortable they are at home, but also their superb attacking strength.
So far this season, Liverpool have been in top form. However, the loss against West Ham has provided lesser teams like Southampton a sort of blueprint to counter the charging Merseyside Reds. West Ham were brilliant in that game when they hit Liverpool on the counter and ran riot amongst their ranks. Ralph Hasenhutl will undoubtedly keep that in mind when he faces them at Anfield on Saturday. He has got some very threatening players in form of Adam Armstrong, James Ward-Prowse, Che Adams, and they could hurt Liverpool if given the chance.
Liverpool will be expected to brush off the Saints quite comfortably at home like they did against Arsenal last weekend and against Porto in the midweek UCL fixture, and countless others so far. However, the Premier League has proven time and again that is capable of springing up a surprise, and Liverpool will be foolish to take this game lightly. The Saints have performed well against the bigger teams this season, and although Liverpool are superior in every aspect, Southampton could very well get a result here.
The Egyptian scored in his last two games, taking his tally to 17 goals in 17 games this season. His astonishing goalscoring record does not seem likely to stop anytime soon, and he looks set to break many records. His performances this season have been mesmerizing and defenses across the country are surely fearing the prospect of facing the winger. He loves playing against Southampton, with the winger playing against the Saints 8 times and scoring 7 times. He has been in devastating form of late and his form will be crucial to propel the Reds to a 20th league title. Salah has provided energetic displays throughout this season so far, and he has destroyed almost every fullback he has faced this season. Southampton will need to neutralize him in the game to stand any chance of getting a result.
Adam Armstrong has been in good form this season, taking his chances whenever they come. He has formed a good partnership up-front with Che Adams and works well with Armando Broja as well. The new signing from Blackburn Rovers will naturally take some time to adjust to the fast-paced life of the Premier League, but has gelled in well with his new team. He is the leading goal and assists getter for his team, with two each. It has been a statement on how poor the Southampton attack and chance creation is as well, with the Saints scoring just 10 goals in 11 games so far this season. He has scored or assisted a goal (3 G/A) in each of his last three Premier League appearances, more than he had in his first 23 matches in the competition with Saints and Newcastle combined (1 goal, 1 assist). Although the Saints had a tough time against Norwich last weekend, falling to a shock 2-1 defeat, Armstrong did well in the game and provided an assist for Che Adams to open the scoring. However, he failed to do more and could not help his team avoid a defeat.
Liverpool: Allison; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Andrew Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson; Mohammed Salah, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane.
Southampton: Alex McCarthy; Tino Livramento, Mohammed Salisu, Jan Bednarek, Kyle Walker-Peters; Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Mohamed Elyounoussi; Che Adams, Adam Armstrong.