In his debut game in charge of Southampton, Nathan Jones is thrust into the thick of things as his team travels to Anfield to take on a Liverpool team that seemed revitalized last weekend when they defeated Tottenham.
The former Luton manager succeeds Ralph Hasenhuttl, whose dismissal felt a little severe given the Saints’ pitiful league standing of 18th.
While the results were obviously concerning, Hasenhuttl’s club was putting on some strong performances, particularly at St. Mary’s, where they defeated Chelsea and earned additional points in a 1-0 loss to Manchester United while defeating West Ham, Leeds, and Arsenal.
The biggest obstacle to success for Southampton has been a young, inexperienced team that has produced unpredictable results, with poor finishing and individual errors.
When playing against top teams on the road, Saints’ inexperience was especially evident as they gave up four goals in each of their lopsided losses against Manchester City and Tottenham.
No matter who is in charge of the team, those two performances do not augur well for a trip to Anfield, where Liverpool will be trying to show that their recent loss to Leeds at home was just a home hiccup.
Southampton fans will trek up north in the hopes of witnessing their team’s new manager succeed, but Jones is more likely to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task at hand.
The Saints’ young team is not a bad one, and they should score enough points at home to get them to safety.
However, their inexperience can be seen when they travel because they frequently fold in the face of ferocious away fans, making it difficult to believe they will learn anything from their trip to Anfield.
Recently, Liverpool fans were shocked to see the Reds lose at home in the Premier League for the first time in nearly 20 months.
Liverpool, though, has recovered from their stumbles this season despite having experienced a few.
Defeat to Leeds by defeating Napoli, the top-ranked team in Europe, 2-0 at Anfield, before returning from Tottenham with all three points and doing just enough with their youthful players to advance against Derby in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
The Reds should once again defeat Southampton by a score to nil thanks to their recent home victories while keeping clean sheets against Manchester City and West Ham.
Southampton has lost the last five games by scores of 4-0, 2-0, 4-0, 3-0, and 3-0, failing to score on any of their last six trips to Anfield.
Saints have also lost all four of their Premier League away games this season against opposition outside the bottom seven teams, falling 1-0 at Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, 4-1 at Tottenham, and, as was to be expected, 4-0 at Manchester City.
Liverpool lost to Leeds in their most recent home league game, although it was their first loss at Anfield in the Premier League since March 2021, 30 matches earlier. Additionally, they have only given up one goal in four matches this season against teams in the bottom six.
Attackers Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, as well as midfielder Arthur Melo, are both out until after Christmas, according to Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool.
James Milner will need to be evaluated after suffering a concussion against Napoli on Tuesday of last week.
Joel Matip, a center back, and Naby Keita, a midfielder, both won’t play in the final match before the World Cup break.
Due to the absences of Kyle Walker-Peters and Valentino Livramento until after the break, Southampton is without options at right-back.
Juan Larios, the substitute right-back from last weekend, is a huge doubt because he only played for 30 minutes before needing to be replaced due to an adductor injury.