Yes, we’re bringing back Inside Info!
It’s always good to try and get some intel on Southampton’s opposition.
So, ahead of Liverpool’s visit down to Southampton his weekend, we spoke to Tomas Nygren of Swedish Liverpool website Totaal Liverpool to get the lowdown on Southampton’s opponents on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League.
Please read, like, share and, most importantly, enjoy this week’s edition of Inside Info.
SMM: What are your thoughts on Liverpool’s last season?
TN: It was an amazing season, it´s impossible to ask anything more from the team.
We won the Champions League and collected more points than ever before in the league. We did enough to win the league, unfortunately, so did Manchester City. It´s hard to compete against the best side of the Premier League era, but we almost beat them to the title and that is very impressive.
The signing of Alisson Becker made us more solid at the back and that was something that made us take another step in our defensive development. We were fun to watch, but we could also make games quite boring when we needed to. The Champions League win was of course an amazing experience, with the win at Anfield against Barcelona as the most memorable night since Istanbul 2005.
SMM: Can you somehow summarise your thoughts and feelings towards Jurgen Klopp?
TN: No, not really. It´s very hard to put into words what he has meant to the club and to the fans. He has made us believe in the team in a way that I can´t remember that I have ever done before.
We were bruised when he arrived after Brendan Rodgers’ last season and with players like Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling leaving. Klopp came in to the club, implemented his style, gave the existing players a chance to show their value and then he started to build the team who now is Champions of Europe.
We have world class players in every part of the team, the players now exactly what Klopp wants from them and if they are not devoted they can leave.
SMM: What are Liverpool’s season expectations for 2019-20?
TN: I hope that we can give City a fight for the Premier League title, that is without a doubt the most important competition.
I expect us to do better in the domestic cups, last season we failed to do anything at all and that was a missed opportunity to play the youngsters. We have many talented players just behind the first team (Hoever, Elliot, Brewster, Jones for example) and they need a cup run to play some games against experienced opponents. I hope we can do better this year, we are one of the two best teams in the country so we should be able get to a final in at least on of the cups.
After two finals in two years I of course hope that we can keep building on our glory in Europe, I expect us to qualify for the knockout stages and once we are there we know that we are a very hard team to beat. But, most important is the Premier League. If we fail in both the domestic cups and in the Champions league, but win the Premier League I will be a very happy man.
SMM: What are your thoughts on Liverpool’s summer transfer window. Did you need to sign more players?
TN: There are places in the squad that could have been upgraded, especially backup options for Andy Robertson and the three up front, but I don´t have a problem with us not signing anyone.
Our squad is strong and has been build smart year by year since Klopp arrived, we have a squad who is good enough to win the league. Of course an injury to a player like Roberto Firmino would be a huge miss, but I think that Klopp would have an answer to that problem as well.
It´s easy to say that we should have spent money on new players but it´s hard to find world class players who can accept to sit on the bench for most of the games. He have given new contracts to the existing players instead and that is good enough for me.
SMM: What is the most important signing Liverpool made in the last four seasons and why?
TN: The obvious answer is Jurgen Klopp. Without him it would have been hard to sign players like Alisson Becker, van Dijk, Fabinho, and Mohamed Salah. He is the most important signing this club has made in many years.
If I were to pick a player I think I would say that the signing of Virgil van Dijk has taken this team on another level, we have lacked leadership in defence since Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher and he has brought us that, together with flawless defensive efforts. But there have been so many signings in the past seasons that has made us better it is almost impossible to chose.
SMM: How big an impact will Alisson’s injury have on Liverpool?
TN: It´s hard to say, he saved us a few times last season and we have looked shaky at the back at the start of the season, so it would have been nice to have him fit for every game. But we should be able to win most of the games with Adrian, even though he is far from as good as Alisson.
If Alisson misses two-three games it shouldn’t be a problem, but if he will be absent for eight weeks it could be the end to our title hopes. We lost one game last season and still didn’t win, so we cant afford many slip ups if we want to win the Premier League title.
SMM: We know what Liverpool are like with Southampton players. Are there any you’d like Klopp to sign?
TN: I like Ryan Bertrand and to have him as a backup for Andy Robertson would have been nice, part from him there aren’t really any players who come to mind. I’m a bit disappointed that Danny Ings never got a real chance at our club, I like him as a player and think that he could have been a good backup to our front three.
SMM: What did you think of Liverpool’s first game of the season?
TN: We scored four goals and won, that was very good, but the performance wasn’t impressive.
As I wrote earlier, we look shaky at the back and it´s easy to create goal scoring opportunities behind our back four. Our defence and our midfield doesn’t work well together yet and that is worrying, both Norwich City and Chelsea created chances with runs behind our defence and that is something that we need to do better.
It was nice to see both Firmino and Salah in good shape in the first game, it´s vital for us to have them firing from the start and I think they both will be even better in the upcoming weeks.
SMM: With the Super Cup game in the week, how will Liverpool line up against Southampton?
TN: It´s hard to say, since 120 minutes in Istanbul three days before the game isn´t the best preparations.
Adrian will be in goal and I think we will see a back four with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson. In midfield, Georginio Wijnaldum will probably start, I guess that Jordan Henderson will be rested, so maybe James Milner will start.
Hopefully Fabinho can play, he looked very tired yesterday, but he should be OK. Firmino and Sadio Mané will surely start, the big questions is whether Salah is fit enough or not.
Salah played 120 minutes yesterday and 90 minutes against Norwich. Since Divock Origi started on the bench yesterday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him from the start on Saturday.
So, my guess would be: Adrian - TAA, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson - Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum - Mané, Firmino, Origi.
SMM: What is your prediction for Southampton - Liverpool?
TN: I think we will get three points, but it will be close game. Maybe a 2-1 win with Salah coming on from the bench and scoring late in the second half. We need to be better than we were against Chelsea if we want to get anything from the game against Southampton.
We would like to thanks Tomas and Totaal Liverpool for their time. Make sure you check out what we had to say on their blog later today.