Jurgen Klopp may have had to go to hospital in the week but he has been given the all clear for this afternoon’s visit of Southampton. The news that the former Borussia Dortmund boss was taken ill created quite the stir but the German has been given a full bill of health for later today.
And Liverpool themselves have been creating quite a stir before the international break with successive wins over Huddersfield and West Ham. Not only that though but they have scored seven goals in the process as they return to the top six of the Premier League table.
It is fair to say that the two wins that Liverpool earned were routine but it has shown two things. One their attacking endeavour has been rejuvenated after two freeflowing displays while the defensive issues look to have been rectified especially after that shambolic performance away at Tottenham in late October.
The task for Liverpool now is to make sure that there is not a clear divide between themselves and the four teams above them. With Chelsea currently three points clear of the Reds in fourth then you can begin to draw a line between the teams in the Champions League places and those in the Europa League berths.
They will need to make sure that the gap does not at least get any wider and the perfect way in which to do so will be to earn maximum points over a Southampton side that have only picked up a solitary point from their last two matches and as a consequence have slipped to 13th in the table.
A draw with Brighton three weeks ago was how they earned that point but they will look at the home defeat to Burnley six days later as a game where they should at least got the same again. Sam Vokes’s late goal was their undoing as their issues in front of goal were once again highlighted.
The Saints have only scored nine goals from their first eleven matches and are conceding an average of a goal a game this season. That suggest that they are hard to breakdown and when they lose they are not losing by much but the most important metric is goals and that is where they are struggling.
With the club in 13th some fans may well question whether or not life is greener on the other side post Claude Puel. It is fair to say that Mauricio Pellegrino is more defensively minded and that is certainly reflected in their results and performances this season.
That said there is very little difference between Brighton who sit 8th in the table and where Southampton currently find themselves – the obvious one being points but apart from that there are only two points splitting the two clubs so a win could very easily boost their fortunes.
On the flipside though a defeat for Southampton could see them looking over their shoulders and therefore dragged further down the table. All it needs is two wins or two losses in a row and the outlook can be changed ever so significantly.
For Liverpool they have been boosted by the fact that Sadio Mane has returned to training and he will be looking for inclusion against his former club. That will be a common theme today as the often made joke (me included) about how the Merseysiders will be facing their ‘B’ team once again rears it heads.
If they are to face their academy side it may not necessarily be a stroll in the park but I do envisage Liverpool going on to make three wins on the bounce and manage to stay on the heels of Chelsea in the race for fourth place. Home win for me.
This is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) November 17, 2017