Inside Track: Liverpool

By SFC Media time Wed 03 Apr Saints v Liverpool
Photo by Getty Images

Ahead of Friday night's big Premier League game at St Mary's, we got the lowdown on Southampton's opponents from Liverpool Echo reporter James Pearce...

It was a dramatic win against Spurs last weekend. What has that done for confidence and belief?

It was huge. That victory will do more for Klopp's side than winning 3-0 or 4-0. They were in serious danger of losing to Spurs and played poorly in the second half. But, crucially, they dug deep and found a way to win. People talk about luck, but these late winners are also testament to the Reds' spirit, unity and fitness levels.

A draw would have felt like a crushing defeat and a major blow to the club's title dream. But winning ensured that Man City have no margin for error.

liverpool will look to press saints' backline and force them into mistakes.

james pearce
liverpool echo

How is the team playing in general at the moment and coping with the pressure and focus of the title race?

Performances in the league have been patchy over the past month. But against Burnley, Fulham and Spurs they ground out wins when not at their fluent best. The most impressive recent performance came against Bayern Munich in the Champions League – that was a complete European away display.

Considering the pressure on them, I'd say the current crop are handling it very well. Jürgen Klopp has been banging the drum that it's about opportunity rather than pressure, he talks about this being "our first chance to win the title, not our last chance". That message has certainly got through to the players.

How do you see Jürgen Klopp approaching this game?

Klopp will stick with what's become his trusted 4-3-3 formation. The only real dilemma for him is the make-up of his midfield. Against Spurs, he went with Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum, but there was a lack of creativity. I'm sure Fabinho will be recalled for this one. Adam Lallana may also come into contention depending on how bold Klopp is.

Liverpool will look to press Saints' backline and force them into mistakes. The big threat of this team on their travels is on the counter-attack with the pace of Sadio Mané and Mo Salah.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates with Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool after scoring his sides fourth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield on March 10, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mané will be heading back to St Mary's (Photo: Getty Images)

Who are the players you see as being key to success for Liverpool on Friday?

Virgil van Dijk has been Liverpool's best player by some distance this season. The Reds will need him at his commanding best as his ice-cool persona rubs off on those around him.

The two full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, will also be key as Liverpool look to them to provide the quality from wide areas.

Liverpool also desperately need Salah to end his recent drought. He's gone eight games without scoring – his longest barren run for the club. The Reds have been indebted to Mané, who is producing the best form of his career. The former Saints attacker has 11 goals in his past 12 games.


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