Southampton vs Liverpool
Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium
Kick off: 5:30PM
All eyes will be on Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool seeks to take another step towards Champions League qualification against relegation-threatened Southampton this afternoon.
The world’s most expensive defender is making his first return to his former club since his £75 million January move.
The Dutchman can expect a hostile reception, but he is by no means the only one who could come back to haunt the Saints with Liverpool having signed six players from Southampton since June 2014, totalling £172.5m.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are sitting third on the table, whereas Southampton are only two places and one point clear of the relegation zone.
The Reds are the highest away scorers in Europe’s top five leagues, and they need just one goal today to already equal their tally for the whole of last season.
A certain Mohamed Salah has played the biggest role in that, becoming the quickest player to score 20 league goals for Liverpool since 1915 with his brilliant brace against Tottenham, and the Egyptian winger is now only one away from equalling the most left-footed goals in a single Premier League campaign – a record currently held by Reds legend Robbie Fowler.
Should Salah keep up his current scoring streak then it could be enough to hand Klopp his 50th Premier League win in charge, although the Reds have failed to win any of the five games in which Salah has been unable to contribute a goal or assist.
Liverpool’s recent raids of Southampton mean that there are a number of sub-plots in this fixture, but the main one from the hosts’ side sees manager Mauricio Pellegrino come up against one of his former clubs.
The Argentine may have only played 13 games for the Reds in 2005, but he was also a first-team coach at Anfield from 2008 to 2010 and will be looking forward to seeing some familiar faces when Liverpool visit this afternoon.
Southampton possible XI: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand, Romeu, Lemina, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Boufal, Carrillo.
Liverpool possible XI: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.