Liverpool will be a determined side as they gear up to face Southampton in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final. The Reds were agonisingly close to winning the trophy last time out when the heroics of Willy Caballero thwarted them in the penalty shootout against Manchester City.
Liverpool are more balanced and sport a more matured look now as Jurgen Klopp has taken to his surroundings well and has got time to build a side to his liking. The training sessions have been intense but the results are there for all to see. They have been in swashbuckling form this season and have scored goals for fun. But there has been the occasional worrying sign so easily associated to Liverpool also. They have lost or drawn a number of matches which they should have won with ease.
And that is perhaps what is separating Liverpool from Chelsea. Klopp will be eager to get that aspect of the team right and after a tedious 0-0 draw against Plymouth, a win is the target for them. Granted, the team from Klopp was an experimental one with the average age well below what is in vogue but the substitutions and the players on show should have ensured a win.
It will be a tough battle against Southampton in the first leg which will be played away from home. Puel is under pressure and will ask his boys to play fearlessly and put the defensively shaky Liverpool backline under as much pressure as possible.
PREDICTED LIVERPOOL XI VS SOUTHAMPTON (4-3-3)
Karius might get another game after he lost his starting spot to Simon Mignolet in the league. The German will be desperate to avoid any mistakes and will be looking to put in a fine display. Clyne is likely to start at right-back and will be more than a handful for the Saints on the left-flank. At centre-back, Joe Gomez might start with Lovren beside him. Klavan is likely to be rested for the game against United. Moreno might get another start at left-back.
Can, Wijnaldum and Lucas Leiva can be in the centre of the pitch but it is likely that Lallana might be a playing a part, in an advanced position or a withdrawn one. In that case, Lucas will lose his place.
Sheyi Ojo might keep his place with Roberto Firmino and Origi forming the rest of the attacking three. With Mane off to AFCON, there is a need for reinforcements in the advanced area.