Southampton is targeting Fraser Forster, plus Diallo and Armstrong are coming in, while McCarthy, Romeu and Adams are out (not just from the squad, but from the entire matchday squad).
There are also three changes made by Liverpool: Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wijnaldum come into the game, while Jones, Milner and Phillips have to sit on the bench. Jordan Henderson plays alongside Fabinho in central defence.
These are the two teams’ lineups:
Southampton: Forster, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Armstrong, Ings, Walcott, Bertrand, Djenepo.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Fabinho, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago, Salah, Firmino, Mane. Replacements: Long, Valery, Smallbone, Tella, Vokins, Ramsay, N’Lundulu, Lewis, Chauke.
Replacements: Milner, Jones, Minamino, Shaqiri, Origi, Phillips, Kelleher, Neco Williams, Rhys Williams. Referee: Andre Marriner.
Unit NEWS How to line up #SaintsFC in 2021 for the first time: pic.twitter.com/gBJlxFEsPee.
4th January, 2021
Three shifts for the Reds: @Thiago6, @Alex OxChambo and @GWijnaldum switch to the beginning of 11.
4th January, 2021
The team with the sixth best home record plays the team with the eleventh best away record: this should be pretty one-sided.
But Southampton will have to do without goalkeeper Alex McCarthy after a positive Covid test, Danny Ings has scored just once in the last two months and Che Adams is “a bit tired, I think, at the moment” according to Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Meanwhile, Liverpool could call on Thiago, who would be making only his second appearance of the season. “We will see,” Jürgen Klopp said. “He has a chance. Honestly, the guys who have done the job so far have done exceptionally well, so it’s not that we can’t survive if he doesn’t start in the next game, but it’s very good that he’s fit now and obviously in contention.
I like that very much.”
There have been 19 goals in the last six league games between these teams, and I like that very much.
Most importantly, Liverpool has won them all.
Here’s what the teams might look like (of course McCarthy won’t play, and Adams might not either, and it’s largely pure speculation, but it could be a useful guide, and failing that, it’s visually appealing):
And here’s Juergen Klopp on this year’s title fight: