Jurgen Klopp must answer two questions against Southampton

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After Thursday's disappointing draw against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League, Jurgen Klopp will be more than pleased his Liverpool side are back on home soil just three days later.

The Reds' performance against the Russian outfit was distinctly lacklustre; there was little to rave about walking away from Anfield following the final whistle and Brendan Rodgers would have been scrutinised if he was still in charge.

Nonetheless, Kopites are willing to give Klopp time. It has been just over a week since he took the hot-seat at Anfield and the German is still driving his philosophy into his new players.


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Liverpool meet Southampton on Sunday and the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager will hope to see further improvements from his side.

Based on opening matches in charge, Klopp has two overwhelming questions he must answer heading into the Saints clash.

Can Coutinho improve?

During the Rodgers era, the chief protagonist in his side was Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian was a diamond in the rough at Liverpool last season when they finished an underwhelming sixth in the Premier League.

He never failed to drop jaws and his silky footwork and subtle movement tore opponents apart.

Coutinho once again was Rodgers' main man before he was sacked in the early stages of this term. He menaced Arsenal for 45 minutes at the Emirates and scored a world class goal to snatch three points on the first day of the season at Stoke City.

However, in Klopp's first two games in charge, the ex-Inter Milan playmaker has flattered to deceive.

He's been played on the left wing by his new manager. This may seem like Klopp is not building his team around arguably his best player; however, it's easy to forget that Marco Reus adopted this role at Dortmund under Klopp and become one of the world's best players.

Klopp is trying to get the best out of Coutinho and it's unlikely that he will change his tactics after just two matches.

Coutinho is one of the best playmakers in world football; there's even been speculation that Barcelona are tracking him.

The pair would have put some hard graft in at Melwood between matches to try and get things to click into place.

Klopp will not be so reluctant to give up on a world-class player. He's witnessed what the 23-year-old can do with the ball at his feet and he is one of few match winners at Liverpool.

Who will start up front?

Unfortunately for Klopp, he's had an injury crisis since taking the helm at Liverpool.

One area that has severely lacked depth is the striker department.

Liverpool already had Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke on the sidelines when the 48-year-old arrived, which wasn't an ideal situation.

However, further frustration struck when Danny Ings ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in training.

Klopp has had just one recognised forward in the form of Divock Origi at his disposal.

With the greatest respect to the Belgian, he hasn't quite cut the mustard leading the Reds front-line on his own. His movement around the box has not been up to scratch and has often been wasteful in possession.

At 20-years-old, he is still learning his trade but Klopp will be delighted to have a senior, proven goalscorer back.

Benteke came off the bench against Kazan, playing for the first time since he limped off against Norwich City in early September.

The former Aston Villa man looked rusty on Thursday evening but almost wrapped the three points up for his side when he late shot struck the post.

Based on pure ability, Benteke is leaps and bounds ahead of his compatriot Origi.

However, the former Genk man will surely have a distinct lack of fitness and will not be capable of pressing intensely from the front like Klopp will desire.

It's a headache Klopp will have heading into the match - class vs commitment - and will have to make a brave decision.

Premier League
Christian Benteke
Philippe Coutinho

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