Virgil van Dijk is fit enough to feature against his former club Southampton as Liverpool aim to return to the top of the Premier League.
Liverpool have been forced to play catchup to Manchester City, with the Citizens two points clear at the top of the Premier League. The Reds will now aim to gain a temporary advantage, more important in a psychological sense, as they travel to St. Mary’s to face Southampton.
The best news that could be given to a Liverpool fan right now was a positive report on Virgil van Dijk’s fitness. The Dutchman was doubtful, but Jurgen Klopp has reassured his main man in defence is fit to play his former club while talking to the press in the pre-match conference.
“Yes, it looks quite good. No major concerns, actually, so we have to see until the matchday obviously but after the [Spurs] game probably thinking about Virg. He trained normal, everything OK. Yesterday [Tuesday] we only had a second recovery session but he was involved in that and I heard nothing different that he could maybe not train today. No, it looks all OK.”
Joe Gomez has also returned to training. But, for now, Joel Matip should retain his place in central defence, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson on either side of the centre-back pairing.
In midfield, we should see Naby Keita and Fabinho return to the starting lineup. James Milner and Jordan Henderson should be the ones to make way, with Georginio Wijnaldum likely to retain his place against Southampton.
The attack is predetermined to an extent. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are expected to reprise their respective roles as Liverpool search for three more points to add to their current points tally. One player that has had a bit of a renaissance is Divock Origi.
The forward has been deployed in the front three on the left and has impressed Jurgen Klopp, who felt the Belgian deserved to return to prominence.
Klopp said,“ Div is doing well, really well in training. You’re right that he didn’t have the best time as a football player or as a human being [earlier in the season], not being involved much and all that stuff. For sure he felt the impact of that for a while but then he came out of it. For a long time now, he’s really trained on a high level.”
“He can play two positions at least which is good. For us, it’s very important to keep the speed on the wing. His size is also important for defensive set-pieces. All credit to Div, he has done really well and it’s absolutely deserved. Not one second that he’s been given has been a present this season.”
For now, Origi will likely be on the bench, but he should come on, depending on the situation during the game.