Trent Alexander-Arnold is deserving of his England call to the World Cup, says Jurgen Klopp, as the Liverpool right-back prepares for his final club game before Qatar 2022 against Southampton in the Premier League this weekend.
All domestic football in the English top flight takes a breather after this weekend, to make way for the mid-season edition of the game's biggest tournament.
Alexander-Arnold, ruled out of Euro 2020 through injury, has often been a bubble pick to the disgruntlement of Liverpool supporters under Gareth Southgate, but has been named among the squad after Reece James' injury and Kyle Walker's fitness concerns sparked a right-back conundrum.
Klopp thinks him worthy of his place however, stating his player has more than enough big-game experience to justify his inclusion for the national team boss.
"Trent is now 24 and has played in quite a few finals, in important games where you have to defend," he stated. "Against Chelsea in the final for example he was incredibly intense.
"I think Gareth is very happy that he has Trent and Trent took it well. He is calm about these sorts of things, so plays the football he plays."
New Southampton boss Nathan Jones meanwhile has outlined what his players can expect from him following his arrival from Luton Town.
" I will be clear on my philosophy, how we train, how we act and how we speak," he said. "I like to play football on the front foot, score goals and win games. We need to be hard to beat and then be really productive going forward.
" That's a good recipe for getting points and if we can do that consistently then we will be in a better position.
"The players will know that I care about them, that I dedicate every part of my life to making them and the club better, and I'll make sure my work is good enough to earn their respect."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Liverpool - Mohamed Salah
The Egypt international has 99 goals and assists combined in 99 Premier League appearances for Liverpool at Anfield (70 goals, 29 assists); in the competition's history, only Thierry Henry for Arsenal has been directly involved in 100+ goals in his first 100 home appearances for a single club (113; 85 goals, 28 assists).
Southampton - Mohamed Elyounoussi
The Saints man is one of three players to have notched up at least 20 shots without scoring in the Premier League so far this season (20), along with Brighton pair Solly March (27) and Danny Welbeck (26).
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Liverpool have won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against Southampton (L1), scoring at least twice in each victory.
- Southampton are winless in eight Premier League away games against Liverpool (D2 L6), since a 1-0 win in September 2013. They've failed to score in their last six league visits to Anfield.
- Liverpool lost their last home league game 2-1 against Leeds, ending a 29-game unbeaten run in the Premier League at Anfield. They last lost consecutive home league games between January and March 2021 (a run of six).
- Liverpool have lost their last three Premier League games against sides in the relegation zone, going down against Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United this season. They've never lost four consecutive such games in the competition before.
- If Southampton lose this match, it will be the first time they've been in the relegation zone at Christmas in a Premier League campaign since 2004-05, when they suffered their only relegation from the competition.