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How Southampton could line up against Liverpool

Sports Mole looks at how Southampton could line up for their daunting Premier League trip to face joint-league leaders Liverpool at Anfield.

Southampton will face arguably the most daunting current task in English football when they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

The Saints come up against a team with six wins from six across all competitions, but they will also be buoyed by their own recent upturn in form, having begun the season with only one point from their opening three league games.

Three matches without defeat since then - including one in the EFL Cup - leave Mark Hughes's side in much better shape, although their most recent outing will have felt more like a defeat as they let a two-goal lead slip against Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday night.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Southampton might line up for their trip to Merseyside.

Possible SOT XI vs. LIV

Out: Danny Ings (ineligible)
Doubtful: None

Mark Hughes has favoured a 4-4-2 system so far this season, but the absence of top-scorer Danny Ings - who is ineligible to play against his parent club - could force him into a reshuffle.

The Saints are likely to deploy defensive tactics against a team of Liverpool's attacking might, which could see Oriol Romeu come in for Ings to shore up the midfield alongside Mario Lemina.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could move into a slightly more advanced role having already scored twice this season, although as usual his inclusion in the team is expected to be more down to his destructive midfield work than his goalscoring prowess.

Shane Long has been preferred to the likes of Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini as Ings's strike partner so far this season, and the persistent forward looks the most likely candidate to lead the line alone should Hughes opt for just one striker.

The pace - or lack thereof - of Jannik Vestergaard could be a particularly worrisome issue against a team like Liverpool, but Hughes is expected to stick with the giant Dane alongside Wesley Hoedt in defence.

> Click here to see how Liverpool could line up for this fixture

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Manolo Gabbiadini signs for Southampton on January 31, 2016
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