It seems only fitting that, after a Summer of mass exodus at Southampton, the Saints travel to Anfield to play the team that took arguably their three most talented players. Mentioning the recycled joke of whether this is simply a glorified intra-club match is akin to flogging a dead horse, but it’s worth pointing out that Southampton have not fared too badly in their negotiations with the Reds. After seeing a depleted squad weeks ago, Ronald Koeman has been busy spending the £90 million offered forward by Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United for just a handful of players. At Anfield, signings have been arriving thick and fast, with defender Alberto Moreno the latest addition in a squad now showing impressive depth.

However, regardless of the signings made by Koeman, Saints fans will be fearing a heavy defeat at the hands of Liverpool today, with major squad upheaval rarely a sign that good times will follow in the season ahead. Rodgers’ men are brimming with confidence after dominating Borussia Dortmund last weekend, and it will be hoped that the attacking ferocity of that display can be carried over in to a game which really matters. The lack of a certain Luis Suarez has had the press assessing whether or not Liverpool are capable of even playing football anymore, but Southampton will have done their homework on the tidal wave of creativity and attacking prowess that could potentially wash them away this afternoon. There is, once again, a belief among some that Liverpool do not have it in them to mount a title challenge after the loss of Suarez, but the feeling with supporters is of quiet optimism; this is a talented squad of young players capable of winning without the Uruguayan, led by one of the most promising managers in the game.

This time last year, Anfield had not witnessed the Reds record an opening day victory in the league since the 2-1 defeat of West Ham back in 2001, but Simon Mignolet’s debut heroics saw Stoke kept at bay and a victory recorded. The three points picked up in that match set in motion Liverpool’s most exciting Premier League season to date, and many believe that without those three points Rodgers would not have led his team to an unexpected second placed finish. Victories breed confidence, and confidence brings success. For Liverpool, confidence is at it’s highest point in recent memory, among players and supporters alike. At Southampton, expectation, as well as confidence, is low despite their terrific showing last campaign. However, a lack of expectation can sometimes be advantageous, as Liverpool themselves learned last season; the Anfield faithful may be expecting to witness their team to record a victory today, but opening day games rarely stick to the script, regardless of how little confidence to improvise the underdog has.

Team News

Liverpool
Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert are expected to make their competitive debuts against former club Southampton at Anfield today, while Adam Lallana will miss his chance to play against the club he spent 14 years at before his £25 million move to Liverpool this Summer. Lazar Markovic, Jon Flanagan and Daniel Agger are also sidelined, but the trio should be in contention for the match against Manchester City a week on Monday. New signing Alberto Moreno was not registered in time to be selected in today’s squad, but there is a possibility that the defender will make his debut against City.

Southampton
New signing Fraser Forster is set to stand between the sticks for the Saints today, with many of Ronald Koeman’s other recent arrivals Ryan Bertrand, Saphir Taider, Dusin Tadic and Shane Long expected to be handed debuts. Only Florin Gardos, signed from Steaua Bucharest on Thursday, is out of contention with a hamstring problem. Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is available for selection despite his reported wish to join former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur.

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About The Author

Elliot Morrow

was born in Cumbria, England and carries the embarrassing burden of having supported Manchester United between the ages of 7 and 9. However, after seeing the error of his ways through help from his Father, Elliot is now a die-hard Liverpool fan of over 10 years. Currently living in Manchester while studying Film and Media at university, he has to keep his passion for The Reds slightly under-wraps, but won't hesitate to wear his Liverpool shirt around the city centre when he's feeling brave enough.

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