Southampton borta är vad som väntar för Liverpool efter landslagsuppehållet, en tuff uppgift mot ett lag som imponerat de senaste åren. Trots en ständig ruljans av både spelare och tränare har laget oftast befunnit sig på den övre halvan av tabellen. Hemligheterna bakom framgången och lite om vad vi kan vänta oss på lördag berättas av J.Hughes(@jjhughes_) från St Marys Musings här nedan:

Southampton Logo

1. Tell us about the season so far, are you satisfied with the way the team is playing and the amunt of points you have gained?

Satisfied is the right word to sum up how I’m feeling. Bar a poor result against Hull in the last Premier League game, we’re doing well in the league and remaining competitive in the League Cup and the Europa League all at once – while playing football which is nice to watch. No complaints here!

2. You once again have a new manager in charge, what has Claude Puel brought to the team?

Puel has changed a few things at the club. Under Ronald Koeman, we played direct football. We’re now keeping the ball a lot better like under Mauricio Pochettino, while retaining solidity at the back in defence. Puel is playing a narrower diamond formation which angered a few of our fans at first. But, the results have largely won our fans over since the beginning of the season. As a side note, Puel has also impressed with his ability to rotate the squad and has managed to keep most players fresh despite the additional demands of the Europa League.

3. How would you describe the team this season? Strengths/weaknesses

As mentioned before, we’re looking a strong team defensively and we’re playing some attractive football. One weakness I will say is we look toothless up front and Saints often struggle to put the ball in the net despite the nice play. But, this is a problem we had under both Koeman and Pochettino before.

4. You have lost a lot of players the past seasons, still you manage to compete on the top half of the table, how is that possible?

Clever recruitment. Like with our managers, Southampton has a system in place which seems to have new additions fit in to the club seamlessly. It’s not fun losing so many players and it often feels like we’re not replacing departing players with the same level of quality, but you can’t argue against the results.

5. There will be a few old Southampton-players coming back to the stadium this weekend, what kind of reception do you think they will get? Is there any of the players we have bought from you that your fans really dislike?

Dejan Lovren will most definitely receive the harshest response from the crowd, quickly followed by Adam Lallana. Both players did a lot to upset Southampton fans before they left for Merseyside. Nathaniel Clyne will likely get booed but nothing serious. It remains to be seen with Sadio Mane, but I’m sure his name will be booed regardless.

6. Who will be your key players this season?

It’s looking like the goals of Charlie Austin will be key for Southampton this season both in the league and in Europe. Our team is exactly that – a team, and we don’t have any spectacular individual talents this season. But, goals are what win you games so Austin is the one to pick as our key player, in my opinion.

7. Finally, what are your thoughts on Liverpool this season?

Liverpool look great! Jurgen Klopp looks to have moulded Liverpool into a team which was a lot like his former side at Borussia Dortmund and they’re a lot of fun to watch. Attacking in numbers but with a defensive fragility which make games more interesting. Obviously, I’m hoping Saints can exploit those defensive issues on Saturday! 😉