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Turning the Page: AA's Southampton Preview

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As we begin a new season, we look at new expectations, new players, and new horizons, and open our campaign against Southampton

Clint Hughes

Liverpool vs Southampton

UK: Sky Sports 1-1:30PM BST

US: NBC Sports-8:30AM EST

Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool look to continue where they left off last season in terms of sheer brilliance on and off the pitch, but has assured us all that last season was forgotten by his charges at the beginning of preseason.

There is a notable absentee around Anfield, but plenty more talking points ahead of the new season. We have adressed our depth issues in nearly every position, bringing in players like Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, and Javier Manquillo, while the signing of Alberto Moreno from Sevilla has just been confirmed, and have planned ahead for the future by signing Emre Can and Divock Origi, all this among other signings and getting promising young players such as Suso and Sebastastian Coates back from loan.

With all of the new additions, it's now hard to pinpoint who exactly will be in the starting XI. But against Southampton on the first day, for now, it looks as if new signing Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel will be our defensive partnership, while either Jose Enrique or Javier Manquillo will partner Glen Johnson as a wing back.

In midfield, there are injuries to the aforementioned Lallana and Markovic, and so the midfield should remain, as a whole, unchanged from our friendly against Dortmund.

You also have the possible pairing of Daniel Sturridge, who is almost certain to start anyway, and Rickie Lambert.

This fixture last year saw Dejan Lovren spearhead (quite literally) Southampton to a win, which was our first loss of the season. At St. Mary's last year we cruised to a relatively easy 3-1 win.

There've been new arrivals despite the exodus at St. Mary's as Ronald Koeman has been appointed as manager, Ryan Bertrand and Saphir Taider have joined on loan from Chelsea and Inter Milan respectively, and other big deals include the 10m signing of Fraser Forster from Celtic. Dusan Tadic from FC Twente and Shane Long from Hull have also been purchased.

The biggest question for Southampton going into the season is if they can handle the loss of what is basically the spine of their club. Three players made the move to Merseyside, Callum Chambers has gone to Arsenal, and Luke Shaw has packed his bags for Man United.

Players to watch tomorrow will be Morgan Schneiderlin, who seems to be fed up with his best teammates leaving, and wants a move himself, and Shane Long who can score at any moment.

Our biggest thing tomorrow will most likely be the defense. Three new signings in defense look to revamp the whole back line, as we look for more leadership and commitment in a defense that conceded over 50 goals last year. Dejan Lovren was a standout performer last week against Dortmund and Javier Manquillo also made a promising debut as we thumped our friends from Germany 4-0, but can they perform when it counts?

Other thoughts:

-Well, as Moreno won't be able to play, Glen Johnson will pretty much be guaranteed a place. I'm excited that no matter what happens, he'll have decent competition for his spot in the squad. (JAceKopite16)

-As said above, it's still up in the air whether our defense can perform better that last season, but Dejan and Martin looked quite solid together against BVB. This will be a real test, though. (JAceKopite16)