Liverpool face a tough trip to St Mary’s on Monday evening to face Southampton and whilst a lot of eyes will be on Danny Ings and the threat he poses against his old team, Jurgen Klopp’s side must be wary of James Ward-Prowse.
The Southampton captain has been in superb form so far this season for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, contributing four goals and three assists in 16 top-flight appearances, which has earned him an excellent 7.3 average rating.
This is enough to rank the Englishman as the Saints’ best performer in the top-flight so far this season, which emphasises how important he is for the South Coast club.
Perhaps most impressively, three of Ward-Prowse’s goals have come from direct free-kicks, including two superb efforts in the same game in their 4-3 win against Aston Villa earlier in the season.
Therefore, Klopp’s side must be extremely wary of giving away free-kicks in dangerous positions at St Mary’s on Monday, as the 26-year-old certainly has the quality to punish the Reds.
“They have the best free-kick taker I have seen in my life in Ward-Prowse.”
It is not just the Southampton man’s free-kicks that are dangerous, however, as his corners have also proved to an extremely dangerous weapon for Hasenhuttl’s side this season, with the South Coast club having scored eight times from set-pieces this season, the joint-most in the league.
Without the aerial threat of Virgil van Dijk, Klopp’s side could certainly be vulnerable from set-pieces, as we saw with Semi Ajayi’s equalising goal for West Brom in the 1-1 draw recently, so this could be another area which Southampton look to exploit against the Reds on Monday evening.
Therefore, although the likes of Ings and Che Adams are likely to cause problems for Liverpool’s defence at St Mary’s, Klopp should be wary of the influence Ward-Prowse has in this Southampton side.