Ronald Koeman must decide whether to play Ryan Bertrand out of position or pitch Maya Yoshida into the Southampton side for Jose Fonte.
The Saints chief will be unable to call on his skipper Fonte for the first time in the Premier League this season at Stoke this weekend following his red card against Sunderland in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at St Mary’s.
The Dutch tactician could continue with the successful three-man central defensive system, which has worked well for him so far this year, by using left-back Bertrand and Yoshida alongside Virgil van Dijk.
The main issue with that plan is Japan international, Yoshida, who has been suffering problems with his confidence this term, highlighted by errors which proved costly in defeats to Manchester United and Manchester City.
Therefore Koeman could scrap the three-man system for the game at the Britannia Stadium and just use Bertrand as a makeshift centre-half in a four-man defence.