COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Giorginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can are both expected to start against Southampton but the Liverpool duo have not yet played a full match alongside each other in midfield.
Adam Lallana is expected to miss out after he picked up a minor groin injury shortly after scoring in England’s 2-2 draw against Spain on Tuesday evening.
Wijnaldum is the obvious replacement and he is likely to line-up alongside Henderson and Can in midfield as Jurgen Klopp sticks with the 4-3-3 formation that has been such a success this season.
Former Newcastle star Wijnaldum joined the Reds for £25million in the summer and has impressed during his first months at the club in a predominantly central midfield role.
He was forced to sit out the goalless draw against Manchester United through injury and has been unable to retain his place in the team since then, despite starting in five successive Liverpool fixtures between August and October.
Can faced a battle to regain full fitness at the start of the season but completed his first 90 minute game against United and has gone on to start four of Liverpool’s last five games.
Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum have played 94 minutes of competitive football together so far. Saturday will be an interesting test. #LFC
— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) November 16, 2016
The pair have only played 94 minutes together so far but must strike up an instant rapport at St Mary’s Stadium.
Wijnaldum could move into the advanced role vacated by Lallana and where he shone in with Newcastle, allowing Henderson and Can to retain their central midfield positions.
Liverpool have lacked squad depth in recent seasons but with Can , Wijnaldum, Henderson, Lucas Leiva and Kevin Stewart all vowing for a place in midfield, there are now plenty of options.
It’s important Can and Wijnaldum produce a good performance alongside each other on Saturday and prove to Klopp they are capable of rotating well.
In other Liverpool news, the Reds must offer this midfielder a new contract in January or risk losing him.