A pair of clubs headed in seemingly different directions begin their Premier League campaigns this morning as Liverpool hosts Southampton at Anfield at 8:30am ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
After a stunning near-miss in the title run last year, Liverpool is looking to not only maintain its Champions League status but best its second-place finish the previous season.
Meanwhile, Southampton also completed a meteoric rise last year, but the club has offloaded many of its star players who impressed many last season.
It’s fitting that these two clubs open the season together, since many of the players Southampton sold ended up at Liverpool, including Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, and Dejan Lovren.
However, Lallana is injured, so he will have to wait to face the side he captained up from the depths of English soccer.
Lovren starts for Liverpool, while Lambert begins on the bench. All the regulars are in for Reds manager Brendan Rodgers, while new signing Emre Can begins the season among the substitutes, and recent addition Alberto Moreno is not among the squad as he was not registered in time.
For Southampton, thanks to the firesale, there are plenty of new faces among the squad. Excellent attacking midfield addition Dusan Tadić starts, as does Ryan Bertrand at the back, 29-year-old striker Graziano Pellè up front, and former Celtic man Fraser Forster in net.
Also starting for the Saints is wantaway Morgan Schneiderlin, who will have to watch his former teammates don the shirt of another while he is forced to remain at his club.
Liverpool – Mignolet; Manquillo, Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren; Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling; Sturridge.
Bench – Jones, Toure, Sakho, Allen, Ibe, Can, Lambert.
Southampton – Forster; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand; Wanyama, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Ward-Prowse, Tadić; Pellè.
Bench – K. Davis, Long, Taïder, Cork, Hooiveld, Isgrove, Stephens.