Jurgen Klopp’s home debut in Liverpool’s Europa League match this week didn’t go as well as he had hoped.
Perhaps the manager’s first Premier League tilt at Anfield will be better Sunday when the Reds host a Southampton side that’s yet to lose on the road in the first division this season.
After witnessing a scoreless draw against Spurs to begin his Liverpool tenure last weekend, Klopp wasn’t pleased with his group’s overall play during Thursday’s 1-all finish against 10-man Rubin Kazan at The Kop. The latter was the Reds’ third straight draw in Europa group play.
”The team is not full of self-confidence,” Klopp said.
"Now we have to look at how the players are after a very intensive game," he added to Liverpool’s official website. "We’ll see what we can do for Sunday."
Whether or not Daniel Sturridge will be available is uncertain.
The veteran striker has played just three games over all competitions this season and sat against Tottenham and Rubin Kazan with a knee problem, but could be available for this contest. Sturridge, who recorded both of his season’s goals during a 3-2 home win over Aston Villa on Sept. 26, scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Southampton at Anfield in 2014-15.
"With Daniel’s injury we have to see day by day," Klopp said about Sturridge, who also has been bothered by a hip problem. "There’s a little bit of fluid in the knee."
Regardless of Sturridge’s status, forward Christian Benteke and midfielder Roberto Firmino each could provide sound options on offence after both returned from injury to see quality time Thursday. The Reds’ eight goals are tied for the third-fewest in the top-flight heading into the weekend.
"If all the strikers are fit then we have four, and we have to think about how we can put their quality into our game," Klopp said. "It is possible we can play like this, but I don’t know at this moment if we will play on Sunday with two strikers – but it is an option for the future."
Liverpool (3-4-2) are unbeaten in four league matches (1-3-0) and have drawn the last two. Though the Reds own a 7-1 scoring advantage during their three-game winning streak against Southampton (3-4-2), Ronald Koeman’s club is 1-3-0 on the road in the league. That victory came at reigning champions Chelsea, 3-1 on Oct 3.
Southampton last won consecutive league road matches during a four-game run last season that concluded with a 1-0 victory at Queens Park Rangers on Feb. 7.
"You know how they want to play, they are in good shape," said Klopp, who began preparing for Southampton shortly after Thursday’s finish. "They are a good team and it’s not an easy game. But we are at home and that’s what we want to show."
The Saints have scored 10 of their 15 Premier League goals in the last four contests, with the last five coming from five different players.
"It’s going well," Koeman said. "If you watch the team it’s really on a good level. We still have a team that is difficult to beat."
Graziano Pelle has a team-leading five goals but was blanked for the second time in the last three league matches during Saturday’s 2-all draw with Leicester City. Pelle managed four shots but no goals in the two matches against Liverpool last season.