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INSIDE INFO: Views from a Liverpool fan

We spoke to The Liverpool Offside's Zachary Marx to get his view on Liverpool ahead of today's game.

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Ahh. Southampton vs. Liverpool. I can't say it's my favourite fixture going, but some people seem to enjoy it.

Whether it's the memories of their dominance in the 1980s or their recent fad of buying up any player on Southampton's books that's remotely promising, there are a lot of Saints fans - young and old - who rank Liverpool up there among their most hated clubs.

Whatever you think of them, it's always interesting to see what the opposition are thinking ahead of your game. So, in this case, we spoke to Zachary Marx of sister blog The Liverpool Offside to get his thoughts in preparation to today's match.

Read our return Q&A on their site here.


St. Mary's Musings: How has Liverpool's season went since our last meeting in October?

Zachary Marx: It's been a strange ride since that meeting, with some very high highs and some very low lows. Some of the early results (4-1 away to Man City, 6-1 away to you) were good indications of what Klopp is capable of as a manager. But then we went ahead and shit the bed against Newcastle and Watford, painfully reminding everyone that this is a new manager in a new league. That said, Liverpool have finally found a bit of consistency as of late.

SMM: How has Jurgen Klopp been so far and just how popular is he on Merseyside?

ZM: I can't speak for the blue half of Merseyside, but the red half loves him. His honesty and humor is so refreshing in a world dominated by coach-speak. Klopp has done a fantastic job of getting the players and fans to buy-in, and almost every player has shown improvement compared to their form under Rodgers.

SMM: How are all the ex-Saints doing? I still can't get over selling Nathaniel Clyne for that fee.

ZM: Clyne has bossed it all season. Seriously a steal. The player who has transformed the most under Klopp has been Dejan Lovren. He's like a different defender these days. Whereas under Brendan Rodgers he was guaranteed at least one or two major mistakes a game, he's hardly put a foot wrong in months. Adam Lallana has also improved a great deal under Klopp. He still isn't adding as much end product as we'd like to see, but his pressing game fits Klopp's style like a glove.

SMM: What is the priority for Liverpool fans? Europa League? Getting a good position in the EPL?

ZM: Most Liverpool fans realize that Top 4 is highly unlikely, so whether we finish 5th or 8th in the league at this point doesn't really matter too much. However, finishing about Manchester United would be nice. So, yeah, the Europa League has to be our priority. We face a ridiculously good Borussia Dortmund side in the quarterfinals, though. If we can somehow find our way through Die Schwarzgelben, we'd have to like our chances of ending the season with a trophy and a place in next year's Champions League.

SMM: What needs to be improved for next year which will see Liverpool challenging for a top four place at least?

ZM: I think a lot of the pieces we need to be a top side are already at the club. We have a lot of good, young talent. We have one of the best managers in the league. And we've had the advantage of having a long adjustment period this season under Klopp.

One piece that is missing is a top-class goalkeeper. Mignolet just isn't cutting it, and it's so frustrating when you see Liverpool pepper a goal with shots and fail to score, only to let the first shot on target go in on the other side (which is exactly what happened in our 1-0 defeat to Manchester United).

SMM: If you could sign any Southampton player, who would it be and why?

ZM: In keeping with the goalkeeper theme I guess Fraser Forster? An argument could be made for Virgil van Dijk, though we're already pretty stacked at center back, and I don't want that to become a thing between our sides. Wanyama is also a fantastic midfielder, but his tendency to get sent off would give me some hesitation.

SMM: Who should us Saints fans be wary of and why?

ZM: Roberto Firmino. He had a slow start under Rodgers, but he has absolutely torn it up in 2016. Since the new year he has 8 goals and 4 assists in all competitions.

SMM: Finally, what do you think the score will be?

ZM: 2-1 to Liverpool. I can see us being a bit hungover after the emotional Manchester United tie, but I think the Reds are finally starting to gel and show some consistency. Regardless, it should be a good match!