COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Georginio Wijnaldum should come into the Liverpool starting XI for Adam Lallana against Southampton after the Englishman broke down in the international break.
The Liverpool Echo claim the midfielder “is unlikely to be risked against his former club” after picking up a “minor groin injury”.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has not ruled out Lallana from the game and is hopeful he can return, but the club are awaiting the results of a scan.
The Reds are set to challenge for the Premier League title this season and it would be reckless to risk Lallana for just one game.
The 28-year-old has proven to be one of the most influential players in the side and has made 12 appearances this season, scoring three goals and supplying five assists.
Dutch midfielder Wijnaldum is an obvious replacement for Lallana and scored during the 6-1 victory in the club’s last match against Watford.
Klopp should think about the bigger picture of a title chase and Wijnaldum would still offer enough quality to help Liverpool secure three points.
The German manager should also recall Dejan Lovren to the side after he missed the last game due to a virus, with make-shift defender Lucas being left out.
The Merseyside club should stick with Loris Karius as their goalkeeper despite the 23-year-old conceding in the last three games against Watford, Crystal Palace and West Brom.
Liverpool are struggling as a defensive unit and Klopp needs to continue with his strongest set-up of Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip, Lovren and James Milner in front of Karius.
Southampton have scored just 12 goals from their opening 11 league games and the Reds could have a great opportunity to secure a clean sheet.
The trio of Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Wijnaldum should start the game, with the compact midfield giving Liverpool a chance to dominate possession in the away match.
The Reds must continue with the familiar front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, who have been in formidable form this season.
Firmino and Coutinho have been away with Brazil during the international break, with the latter playing in two games, but the pair are athletic enough to feature on Saturday.
In other Liverpool team news, a 27-year-old is set to wear a mask for Southampton int he Premier League clash.