Predicted XI: Southampton (H)

Liverpool face Southampton this afternoon at Anfield in their first Premier League tie since the international break. This is how I think Liverpool will line up:

Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
Mignolet was in action for the second of Belgium’s friendlies, keeping a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Japan. Whilst Loris Karius has taken Champions League duty from Mignolet, the Belgian looks set to retain his place in the Premier League side.

Right back: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Joe Gomez enjoyed a good international break, making his full senior debut for England. I’d expect Alexander-Arnold to step in at right back, however, as Gomez has played a lot recently. With the Reds entering the busiest period of the season, this is a position that will see heavy rotation with Clyne still sidelined.

Centre back: Ragnar Klavan
Thanks to a late Joel Matip injury, Ragnar Klavan will likely start this afternoon. The Cameroonian had been injury free so far this season, but it seems last season’s injury problems have persisted. Klavan had a run of games before the international break and had performed decently, and Southampton likely won’t provide too much of an attacking threat.

Centre back: Dejan Lovren
The Croatian will likely make his first start for the club since he was unceremoniously withdrawn after thirty minutes away to Tottenham. Subject to vile online abuse and undergoing a tough time personally, hopefully Lovren can put in a solid performance against his former club.

Left back: Alberto Moreno
Alberto Moreno was called up to the Spain squad for the international break, marking just how far he’s come since last season. In a recent interview, he revealed that he suddenly realised he had to defend and not just bomb on forward. I wonder how that came to him.

Centre midfield: Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson was injured for the last club game, against West Ham, and subsequently missed the international break allowing him to recover. Perhaps a genuine injury, perhaps some clever management by the club. Either way, Henderson is set to return to the lineup today.

Centre midfield: Georginio Wijnaldum
This is a choice between Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, and is quite frankly a guess. With a massive build up of fixtures on the horizon, this is a position that will be heavily rotated.

Centre midfield: Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho featured in Brazil’s 0-0 draw with England, and should be fit to start today. Hopefully he will be starting in midfield, where he can wreak havoc behind a front three of Salah, Firmino and Mané.

Right wing: Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian was given some time off during the last international break, meaning he’s fresh for Liverpool. Excellent news for the Reds, who will require his pace and trickery to overcome stubborn opponents Southampton.

Centre forward: Roberto Firmino
Roberto Firmino was also quiet this international break, coming on as a substitute against England. As with Salah, this is excellent news for the Reds as a well rested Firmino should be firing on all cylinders going into a congested Christmas period.

Left wing: Sadio Mané
Mané returned to Melwood with “injury” and now looks set to return to the starting lineup. This has been a great international break for the Reds, with plenty of chances for rest and a number of key players not involved. Liverpool deserve credit for perhaps pulling their players out and protecting them ahead of the Christmas period.

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