Southampton take on Everton in their opening Premier League fixture on Saturday and Ralph Hasenhuttl can amend the Saints’ woeful record at Goodison Park by unleashing new signing Tino Livramento.
Southampton’s last win at Everton came 24 years ago in 1997, whilst the Saints haven’t won an opening day fixture in the Premier League since 2013, so the omens are not looking good as Hasenhuttl’s side prepare for their trip to Merseyside.
The Austrian will be without two of his key players from last season, with Danny Ings having completed a move to Aston Villa, whilst Jannik Vestergaard is on the verge of signing for Leicester City, so it could be a tough season for the Saints.
Romain Perraud, Dynel Simeu, Armando Broja (on loan), Adam Armstrong and Livramento have all joined the Saints this summer, and the latter could be the difference-maker against Rafa Benitez’s side this weekend.
Much of the Toffees’ threat could come down the left-hand side, with Lucas Digne’s crossing ability likely to cause a lot of problems again this season, especially with the aerial prowess that both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison possess.
Therefore, stopping him could be the key to Southampton picking up three points against Everton, so locking down the right-hand side might well be something that Hasenhuttl is considering.
Whilst Livramento is naturally a full-back, he has played further forward during his time with Chelsea and was named the academy player of the season earlier this year after contributing a number of goals and assists from wing-back for the Blues.
The youngster certainly impressed on his first appearance in a Saints shirt in a recent friendly against Athletic Bilbao, with Hampshire Live journalist Tom Leach singing his praises after the game, saying: “What a way to introduce yourself to the Saints fans! With his first touch of the ball, he pressed to win it and with his second, he played a delicious ball over the top for Walcott to score. He looked so comfortable on the ball and had a real awareness of the role he was playing. Brilliant.”
Therefore, if Hasenhuttl were to select him playing ahead of Kyle Walker-Peters on the right wing for Southampton in his 4-2-2-2 setup, it could make the Saints a lot more defensively secure. It would also allow Livramento more freedom to get forward and attack, which could be the difference as the south coast club seek to begin their Premier League campaign with a long-overdue three points at Goodison Park.