Ronald Koeman will field his strongest side as Saints finish their pre-season friendlies against Bayer Leverkusen at St Mary’s today.
The Saints manager is hoping for more new signings to arrive before the season kicks-off at Liverpool a week tomorrow, but, aside from the absent Morgan Schneiderlin, will be giving his current first choice side a run out.
“Yes, you saw in the building up in the pre-season little by little you give a little bit more open what you like to do, or what the starting list is in the squad, and this is the same,” said Koeman.
“I would like to have the same ambition in the team, the same structure how we played, how we are doing our training sessions, and it’s the toughest opponent in the whole pre-season and we will see. But I have confidence in the team from what I saw this pre-season and we have to be ready for next week.
“The Germans are always tough to beat, they are always physically strong. I think it’s a good friendly, it’s a good test in the last friendly.”
There is still much work to do before the opener at Anfield and Koeman, who was asked whether his side were ready for that test yet, smiled: “You never know, because it’s the same question for Liverpool, it’s the same question for Man United, it’s the same question for all the teams.
“We are doing our pre-season, a lot of teams travel a lot, we had normally a more quiet pre-season. We did good physical training, we did good exercises, I think this is a good test. We are ready for Liverpool, yes.”
He added: “From the beginning, the ambience was great between them in the squad, in the team and, of course, always you have some moments in the pre-season what we had – we lost some players, some good players – but little by little we brought in new players and they saw the qualities of the new ones and the signing from Jose, all these kind of things together brings good ambition, a good feeling for the new season.”