Every game feels huge for Saints at the minute, but this one really is crucial.

Fulham are languishing at the foot of the table and with Mark Hughes’ side being kept out of the relegation zone by goal difference, this match has plenty riding on it for both teams.

Saints’ opposition parted company with manager Slavisa Jokanovic at the beginning of the international break and replaced him with Premier League title winner Claudio Ranieri.

The Italian has a tough task ahead of him if he is to sort out Fulham’s leaky defence. The Cottagers have conceded 31 goals from their opening 12 games.

However, by making the managerial change, the hosts are now under more pressure to justify the sacking of Jokanovic.

This can be a positive for Hughes’ team because people will be looking at Fulham and it gives Saints the chance to go under the radar.

But the St Mary’s side will be fully aware that if they fail to win this one, it could spell serious trouble in the coming weeks due to the difficult fixtures coming their way.

Premier League record v Fulham:

P12 W3 D6 L3

Who has been the opposition’s key player this season?

Daily Echo:

Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic looks to be a different proposition in the Premier League with Fulham.

He struggled to score goals during his spell at Newcastle, but already has five to his name this season.

Mitrovic has more to his game than just scoring though. The 24-year-old is also a force in the air, which will mean Saints’ defenders will have a constant aerial battle on their hands.

Fulham spent a whopping £27m on the striker and the burden is on him to score the goals they’ll need to retain their Premier League status at the end of the season.

A closer look at the Fulham manager:

Daily Echo:

Claudio Ranieri celebrates with the Premier League trophy

Ranieri is the man behind Leicester City’s incredible Premier League title in 2016.

However, a few months later he found himself out of a job after being replaced by ex-Saints boss Claude Puel.

The Italian has been out of work since his sacking but couldn’t resist the chance to take his 18th managerial job in football with Fulham.

He has been tasked with turning their fortunes around after they spent big in the summer in a bid to ensure they stay in the Premier League for longer than a season.

Ranieri’s first spell in England came when Chelsea appointed him in 2000. He spent four-years with at Stamford Bridge before being ushered out to make way for Jose Mourinho.

Since then, he has taken charge of a plethora of teams including Juventus, Inter Milan, Monaco and Greece.