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Reigning champions Liverpool will travel to Southampton for their first Premier League match of 2021 on Monday night.
In the ridiculously successful environment that Jurgen Klopp’s team has fostered over the last few seasons, their current streak of back-to-back draws (no losses, raffles) is sufficient to cause illicit moderate surprise.
Liverpool have not lost points in three consecutive Premier League games since the end of the 2017/18 campaign and, with the rare privilege of five days to prepare, here is the line-up they should use to maintain that record.
Alisson (GK) – While Newcastle United’s Karl Darlow stole the headlines on Liverpool’s trip to St James’ Park, Alisson calmly minded his affairs among the other group of publications, just as he has for the vast majority of his time in Merseyside.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – Injuries and a slight drop in form have conspired to leave Liverpool’s usual chief creator with just two assists in the Premier League this season; however, it is highly unlikely that Klopp will lose faith in the 22-year-old.
Nathaniel Phillips (CB) – After a first clean sheet of the Premier League against Newcastle last time, Phillips may be in line to start consecutive games in the top flight for the Reds for the first time as Klopp manages his dwindling defensive resources.
Fabinho (CB) – Now firmly installed in the heart of Liverpool’s backline, it seems like a distant memory of a bygone era when the remarkably versatile Fabinho elegantly patrolled the midfield.
Andrew Robertson (LB) – Amid the flurry of rotation across the team, Klopp can’t do without his buccaneer and defensive left-back sound for a single Premier League minute.
Curtis Jones (CM) – The 19-year-old’s integration into the first team has been so seamless that the academy product has all but bypassed the dreaded scrutiny that comes with a prospect tag and slipped straight into the usual setup.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – With the proud captain’s armband on his arm, Liverpool’s midfield anchor is a virtual certainty in the starting lineup when he’s fit, and even sometimes when he’s not.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – Liverpool’s number five has missed just one league game since the summer of 2019, starting 49 of the previous 54 outings. After a rare appearance on the bench on Wednesday, Klopp’s midfielder should be in line for another run.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – Having stealthily climbed the goalscorer charts once again this season, Salah should be given the opportunity early on to add to his 13-goal tally in 15 league appearances this season.
Roberto Firmino (ST) – Despite Liverpool’s recent pair of draws, Firmino has returned to the way Klopp never doubted that he had lost in the first place.
Sadio Mane (LW) – With Diogo Jota still on the treatment table, Mane is almost certain to retain his starting spot against his former team.