Our live stream ahead of Monday nights Premier League match, Southampton vs Liverpool is now up, kicking off at 20.00 GMT
You can keep an eye on the commentary as it happens below, but first, we take a preview into the fixture, lineups, predictions and much more…
Southampton are in shaky form heading into this match, with a run of four games without a win seeing them slip from a place in the top four down towards mid-table.
The Saints come into this match having recorded back-to-back 0-0 draws for the first time since October 2018, and they could record three in a row for the first time in their league history – although that looks unlikely against the division’s highest scorers.
However, on their end of the bargain Southampton have now failed to score in their last three games, while they have also failed to register in six of their last eight matches against Liverpool, none of which they have won.
Liverpool come into the game having been held to a frustrating goalless draw by Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United last time out.
Mohamed Salah missed two opportunities to turn the champions’ advantage at the turn of the year into a more handsome one, but the hosts were inspired by goalkeeper Karl Darlow and his spirited Newcastle defenders.
The point enabled Liverpool to reopen their three-point lead at the Premier League summit, however, Manchester United moved level on points with the champions courtesy of their victory over Aston Villa on New Year’s Day.
The likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and even Everton have been tipped as possible title challengers already this season before falling away and Man United are the latest threat to Liverpool’s crown, just a couple of weeks before the bitter rivals face off at Anfield in their next league game after this.
Klopp will know that his side cannot afford to look past a Southampton side that has impressed so far this season, though, particularly after their anti-climactic end to 2020.
The two clubs last met in February, with Liverpool thumping the Saints 4-0 in front of an Anfield crowd…
Happy New Year, Ralph! 56 points in 2020, does 2021 mean a fresh start and a push to beat that tally?
“Yeah, we still have a way to go until we hit the halfway points [in the season]. We have Liverpool, Leicester and Leeds, I think.”
“We are now on 26 points and if we can keep on this average of points then we stand a good chance of finishing in the top half of the table and this was the aim for the season.”
“This is a realistic target that we can take. It was good that we did not lose against West Ham, we kept them at distance and now we look ahead to the next one.”
What is easier to fix as a manager? Not scoring or conceding too many?
“Easier to fix is not scoring goals. We also had big chances [against West Ham] but they were offside so we know that we can score goals.”
“Yes, in set pieces, Jannik was important and Prowsey was good in delivering free-kicks over the walls.”
“Danny Ings was once in a different shape too, because of his injury, but he has been injured and he will soon find his rhythm, this is normal.”
“We have to find a good balance of keeping the ball and creating chances. This is a good challenge for us now.”
“We have conceded 19 goals this season, this is one less than Liverpool. I must say, this is the biggest step for us and it was definitely necessary. It has been fundamental to having a good season.”
“I was always very, very angry about our non-consistent defending.”
“The way we try to play with the ball now is why we do not concede so many goals, we have so much possession. The opponent has to run more to get the ball which kills them and means they are not so clinical when they have a chance.”
“The whole package is a more successful one.”
How important is it for you to be back in the dugout against Jurgen? He is always in the referee’s ear.
“It is more important now because we have no supporters there so you can coach much easier from the outside.”
“I was happy with how Richard did it before the [West Ham] game because I could hear him screaming.”
“He is on the same page and he was also briefed before the game in what we want to see and I was also in contract with him to the bench to talk about what we needed to do better.”
“I will say, though, a good team does not need a director. We are a good team now. They know what they have to do and using the time before the game is more important and we managed to do that. This was the reason why they were well organised [without him present].”
Is Liverpool the ultimate test, Ralph?
“Before the [last] game, West Ham and Liverpool were the two team who we had not taken any points from since I was here, at this club.”
“Now I have taken a point from West Ham and next up is Liverpool so let’s go for this, yeah?”
Do you still see Liverpool as the favourites to win the league this season?
“They are definitely the team who with and without the ball are the most consistent one, I think.”
“Even without van Dijk they have shown that they can be consistent in taking points.”
“They are not as dominant as last season but in the end I see them being in front, yes.”
How much are you looking forward to facing Klopp, eight years on from your last meeting?
“It is always interesting.”
How is Danny Ings? Is he feeling okay?
“So far I think he is okay. He had a good start against West Ham with the goal, but it was offside a little bit.”
“It is perfectly normal that he is not 100 per cent in the rhythm but it is important that the stays fit now.”
“He has had a little but of time to recover now ahead of a game against his former club, Liverpool.
“I am happy to have him back and we must have more punch now in the front, but this will come.”
How is Nathan Redmond? Will he be fit?
“I think for him and Jannik Vestergaard this will take a little bit longer. We will have a look.
“It may take two or three more weeks, I don’t know. It will take a little bit longer though I think.”
On whether Thiago will be ready to start a match in the coming week…
“Unfortunately, I don’t know him that long. A few months only. So if I would like to answer the question, I don’t know exactly what to say.”
“That he could play 20 [minutes against Newcastle] is pretty special, I would say, because [he had] only two sessions with the team; one of the sessions he was the joker, so I’m not sure you can count that really.”
“But this game [at Newcastle] gave us the opportunity to do it because it was mainly about creating and that’s obviously his best skill. So we will see. There’s a chance. He played 20 [minutes] so there’s a chance.”
“But I don’t even know how he reacts until [Thursday], we will see if he can get out of bed or not! Or if he has kind of muscle soreness or something like that.”
“He enjoyed the few minutes obviously and then we will talk new. But, how I said, I like speaking about Thiago, it’s absolutely no problem, but honestly the boys who did the job so far did exceptionally well, I have to say.”
“It’s not that we could not survive if he cannot start the next game. But it’s very good that he is now fit and is obviously in contention. I like that a lot.
On Matip’s injury and if Liverpool have solutions in the squad or will need to use the January transfer window…
“We have solutions in the squad, obviously. Yes, we struggled still. The injuries we had now from a specific moment happened most of the time in the centre-half position.”
“That’s clear, it’s because some players are injured, play pretty quick – like Joel – and then get injured again. I don’t know how to say it but it just can happen like this when it starts at one point and it doesn’t stop.”
“We have solutions in the squad and if we can, or if we will, do something in the window I don’t know, it’s really like that. It’s a very difficult transfer window, how you can imagine; not a lot of clubs have real money, some clubs don’t have money but don’t need money as well. So that’s the situation.”
“Doing ‘something’ makes no sense. Doing the right thing would make sense. But doing ‘something’ makes no sense.”
“So far, as long as we are in the situation we are, we have to deal with it. And we do. And I liked Nat [Phillips against Newcastle], I really liked what he did.”
“He’s just an absolutely clear, completely clear boy, knows about his abilities and is using it and is just doing the job. He helped us a lot.”
“It was clear he would play [at Newcastle] because we have three centre-halves in the moment, so if Rhys [Williams] would have played again then Nat wouldn’t have played for five or six weeks, which makes no sense because he needs rhythm as well.”
“We have to think a lot, obviously, about these kind of things. He did a really good job.”
On Jones’ chances of playing for the senior England team in 2021…
“That’s a question for Gareth Southgate, I think. I don’t think he is too long in the U21s. Not my decision but I’m really happy that we have him and he has a chance to play in our team, that’s more important to me.”
“About the midfield options for the national team, I don’t know. A really good player and in the future he will play for England, I’m pretty sure. If it’s this summer, I don’t know.”
On what Jones will learn from the West Bromwich Albion game and if he is more mature than his age…
“It’s very important, so this situation, that’s the world and the football world: you make a lot of good stuff and in one thing you hit an opponent when you want to play a pass or you pass a little bit too late and everybody is talking about it.”
“So, 100 per cent he learns from things like this, definitely. It’s a very intense period for him as well and how he did so far is absolutely outstanding. I don’t know what it would have been [like] with all the injuries if he wouldn’t have been there.”
“So I’m really happy about everything. And that football players make mistakes or make wrong decisions, I knew before. That can happen, especially when you get tired – that was for sure the case in the [West Brom] game. But again [against Newcastle], a top game, really good player, all good.”
On the tight situation at the top of the table and whether this season is tougher than last…
“For sure, but last season was very tough for us as well, it’s not that we thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s that easy.’ It was really tough. And this year is tough again.”
“We wish it would not be that close but I’m not surprised that it’s close. We have our situation, all the other clubs have their situation. Our season is so far, so good. Not more, not less.”
“We try to be ready for each game. How I said, I liked the reaction [against Newcastle] from the second half against West Brom. That was good. Now Southampton will ask for different things, we have to be ready again.”
“Then Aston Villa, then Manchester United. Yeah, this season is a tough one for the supporters. If you are neutral then you will love it, I’m pretty sure, because it will go to the wire probably. But it’s just tough for all of us, that’s the reason why it’s so close.”
Southampton Premier League form: WWDLDD
Liverpool Premier League form: WDWWDD
Liverpool form (all competitions): DDWWDD
Southampton possible starting lineup:
Forster; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Walcott; Adams, Ings
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Danny Ings Anytime Scorer – 15/8 with FanTeam
Aston Villa, Everton, Manchester City, Brighton, Fulham, West Brom, Newcastle. That is the full list of sides who have taken points off the Premier League champions already this season. A regression from their impressive high is to be expected and fixture congestion is obviously taking a toll.
One player who won’t be suffering from congestion is the fit-again Danny Ings. Southampton have endured a bit of a slump with just one goal in four but the return of their talisman should provide a confidence boost. A goal for Ings against his former club is well-priced at 15/8.
Time to take a look at our Southampton vs Liverpool live match stream as it happens…