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Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 12th August 2018 Kick-off 13:30
Saints V Liverpool The Preview
Sunday, 11th Feb 2018 08:43
This game has more riding on for Saints supporters than most with so many departing St Mary's for Anfield over the past few years, but this year even more so.
All the headlines are about Virgil Van Dijk, but the fact is since his departure Saints have slowly and quietly started to get their act together culminating in the win at West Brom, it will be tough to keep that run going against a Liverpool side who of late seem to blow hot or cold, but you feel that Saints are a lot better equipped to do it than a few weeks ago.
After last week's win you feel that the confidence has started to return and that at West Brom it was the first time in a long time that we had played as a team.
If Saints can do that again then they can get a result against Liverpool, but doing so means defending a lot better, this season has seen so many points thrown away by poor marking and that has to change, if we cut that out, then we can have a storming finish, if we don't then we are going to have to work hard to pull clear.
All eyes are on Mauricio Pellegrino, he has the squad to win games, the issue though is that he just can't seem to give a good squad that extra bit of leadership to get them over the line and win games, that has been the case in a list of games, he seems to show naivety not only in his team selections but his substitutions, that at times have even seen him in blind panic and fear making changes far too early, or the exact opposite where he has left it far too late and failed to spot glaring issues and aken the appropriate action.
At West Brom he seemed to get it right in both areas and he needs to do so this weekend and keep doing so for the rest of the season, he needs to realise that subtle changes are needed rather than seemingly change for change sake.
Indeed that is probably Pellegrino's problem he tends to over elaborate some times, he can't seem to get the balance right between when a team needs it's manager to do something and when the manager just needs to keep it going and only give it fresh legs at the end.
Hopefully there will not be too many changes from the game up at the Hawthorns, the starting XI up there did the business and earned the right to start this one, that might be hard on Pierre Emile Hojbjerg who only played a small role after a man of the match performance in the previous game, but he is probably the only player who didn't start who perhaps should, although it is hard to suggest who he would come in for, certainly not Mario Lemina who often seems to be one that Pellegrino overlooks.
Liverpool have it in them to challenge for the title, although not this season, the loss of Phillip Coutinho is a blow, but they have plenty of other options in attacking areas.
Their wek spot however is at the back, the arrival of Van Dijk has not solved their problems, in fact it appears to have created more Dejan Lovren is throwing his toys out of the pram and there appears to be no love lost between him and his new back four partner, Lovren declaring ahead of this game that he is number one at the back and Van Dijk has to take that off him with performances, this was a challenge more akin to a World Title Boxing match than what should be two team mates working together.
Add the fact that whoever Klopp plays in goal seems error prone and Saints can beat Liverpool, if they keep it tight at the back, don't give Liverpool anyting they haven't earned and take our own chances.
We have to use the Van Dijk issue to be the catalyst to Saints supporters getting behind their manager, their team, their club and make today another special occasion at St Mary's.
The club is bigger than any individual, we want Saints to pull clear and start to show what they are capable of, if you want us to be relegated then abuse the manager if we go a goal down, if you want this club to be a Premier League team next season and every season afterwards then offer only words of encouragement !
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