Aldridge sees that it could be a tricky game for Liverpool on Saturday, while the Reds will hope there is no slow start like after the last international break.
Liverpool legend John Aldridge has warned his old side in his Liverpool Echo column that Southampton can be dangerous side when the Premier League gets back underway at the weekend.
The Reds will travel to St Mary’s looking to maintain their form that has put them a point clear at the top of the Premier League prior to the international break.
Aldridge wrote in his Liverpool Echo column: “Southampton will be tough. It’s one of those grounds where we have had mixed results down the years. We remember the 6-1 win in the cup and a couple of Coutinho crackers, but we got done there at the back end of last season when we were cruising. They’re a dangerous side alright.
“They’ve changed managers since then, but Claude Puel has got them playing pretty well still. I saw them away at West Ham earlier in the season and they looked fantastic, and they’ve taken points off Manchester City, too.”
It will certainly be an interesting game on Saturday afternoon, and there is a chance the Reds could be caught cold following the international break.
Several people will look to the encounter with Manchester United which followed the last break and saw it took a while for the Reds to get going as Jürgen Klopp had to make a couple of enforced changes.
He could have a headache this time around too with two of his first choice front three part of the Brazil squad who have been playing World Cup qualifiers in South America. Philippe Coutinho has been given a prominent role for his country, while Roberto Firmino is often seen being used from the bench.
Given they are probably expected to arrive back later than most of the first team squad, Klopp will be keen to gauge the fitness of the duo.
It may open up the opportunity for one or both of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi to feature against the Saints. They played together in last season’s fixture at St Mary’s and were effective in the first half when the Reds raced into a 2-0 lead, with Sturridge getting on the scoresheet. Sadio Mane then changed the game in the Saints favour, and the Reds will be glad he’ll be lining up for them instead of their opponents this weekend.
Klopp demonstrated earlier on in the season that he was prepared to keep Coutinho back when he returned from international duty in the 4-1 win over Leicester City – with Sturridge taking his place to great effect.
The difference between this time and the last break is that Liverpool don’t, as of yet, have injuries worries in the middle of the park like they did a month ago.
Aldridge makes a good point in that Southampton have shown they are capable of taking points off the side challenging towards the top of the season – notably the draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. They’re an intelligent side that can be hard to break down and have shown signs they are about to click in recent weeks.
Liverpool could take a little while to get going after the break, and maybe have their rhythm disrupted by players having to go away with their countries, or one or two changes to the line-up.
They can’t afford to take the Saints lightly if they are to keep their winning run going, and preserve their current league position.