By 90Min
November 17, 2017

After the final international break of the year, domestic affairs resume this weekend in the Premier League as Liverpool host Southampton at Anfield.

The Reds have lost just once in their last nine games in all competitions, as Jurgen Klopp's men sit in fifth spot in the league table level on points with Arsenal and this season's surprise package Burnley.

They entertain a Saints side who have won just once in the last five league outings, with Mauricio Pellegrino having yet to find a remedy for his side's problems in front of goal.

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For Liverpool, since his return to England from AS Roma, Mohamed Salah has started this season in fine form with 12 goals in just over three months of the campaign so far. The Egyptian is in red-hot form and the visitors will need to be on their guard to prevent Salah from another goal haul this weekend.

In contrast, Manolo Gabbiadini is Southampton's top-scorer this term, with a relatively paltry three times in which the Italian has found the net.

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the clash at Anfield.


Classic Encounter

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For the most memorable meeting between the two sides, we go back to the turn of the millennium and to a six-goal thriller at the Dell in August 2000.

Liverpool striker Michael Owen was in typically hot form on that day, but his brace was only enough for a point, as Marian Pahars also scored twice including a 90th-minute leveler, to take a point in what will go down as one of the most famous top-flight comebacks in league history.

After Sami Hyypia had extended the Red's advantage from a corner, Owen made it 3-0 with just over 25 minutes left on the clock.

In an extraordinary final 17 minutes however, the Latvian scored either side of a rare Tahar El Khalej effort five minutes from time, with Pahars netting a last-minute equaliser to scenes of jubilation on the south coast.


Key Battle

Mohamed Salah vs Ryan Bertrand

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Two former Chelsea players, Salah will do battle with Ryan Bertrand once more this Saturday, having met once before in the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg in May 2013 - the tournament the Blues went on to win that year.

On that occasion, Bertrand's side got the better of Salah's FC Basel 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, but the Egyptian speedster did find the target on the stroke of half-time as Murat Yakin's charges threatened a shock win in west London.

As the two lock horns again on Merseyside, the task of the Saints' flying full-back will be to shackle his opponent in the wide areas, if as anticipated Klopp elects to revert the Egyptian winger back onto the right with a fully-fit Philippe Coutinho available, shifting compatriot Roberto Firmino into a preferred central role.

Salah however has become adept at evading the capture of defences across the league, and it could be a long afternoon for Bertrand and the Southampton defensive line.


Team News

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The hosts have been dealt a blow with the news Sadio Mane suffered a recurrence of his hamstring strain whilst on international duty for Senegal. The Reds forward is yet to be assessed fully for the weekend, but is a major doubt and is expected to miss out.

Full-back Nathaniel Clyne has also been ruled out for a further three months, with the England defender having yet to play a single game this season as he continues to nurse a troublesome back injury.

There is better news for midfielder Jordan Henderson who is expected to recover in time from a thigh problem, for the visit of the Saints. Adam Lallana is also closing on a return to action, but will miss out again with his own thigh complaint that has kept the playmaker out for the early months of the campaign.

Goalkeeper Danny Ward is ruled out with a back problem.


Southampton's main concern ahead of the trip to Merseyside lies with talisman Mario Lemina who is struggling to shake an ankle injury. The Gabonese international is pivotal to the visitors' hopes this weekend but is a major doubt for the game.


Their only other absentee is with full-back Jeremy Pied who has a knock.


Potential Liverpool Starting Lineup: Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho


Potential Southampton Starting Lineup: Forster; Cedric, Yoshida, van Dijk, Bertrand; Davis, Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Tadic, Gabbiadini, Redmond



Prediction 


Liverpool have become the great entertainers once again this season and their Anfield form is no exception. What has been in previous weeks a leaky back line, has shown encouraging signs of improvement also.

With a shot-shy Southampton side barely registering a single shot is some of their recent encounters, the hosts are set to make all the running this weekend.

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It is always difficult to call the first game back after an international break, but unless Saints boss - and former Red - Pellegrino elects to have a sudden change of emphasis on the pitch from obdurate and stubborn, Saturday could be a long 90 minutes for the former defender to endure.

Whilst many are tipping Salah to have another field day, Firmino could be the one to take the full goal spoils this time around in what should be a comfortable home win.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

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