Liverpool v Southampton: match preview

Jürgen Klopp has not beaten Southampton in four league meetings but, after three straight wins in all competitions and with his squad nearing full fitness, he said: “Now is a good moment to strike back.” Adam Lallana is unlikely to feature for the first time this season against his old club but Sadio Mané could play after a hamstring scare. Mauricio Pellegrino, who played 13 times for Liverpool in 2005, has maintained Southampton’s defensive discipline, since replacing Claude Puel, but scoring has been a struggle. His team have conceded and scored only three goals away from home this term. Andy Hunter Kick-off Saturday 3pm Continue reading...

Southampton’s Mauricio Pellegrino: ‘The biggest risk is to be alive, no?’

The Saints manager is unconcerned about his side’s lack of goals and philosophical about Virgil van Dijk’s future as the Argentinian prepares to face his former club LiverpoolMauricio Pellegrino did not have the ideal start to his career as a Premier League manager. Virgil van Dijk in effect went on strike shortly after the Argentinian walked through the Southampton door, casting a cloud of uncertainty over pre-season as he tried to make a good first impression on his players. Perhaps it worked in Pellegrino’s favour that he comes across as an incredibly calm and philosophical character. He is also realistic and understands that Saturday’s match at Liverpool has put Van Dijk under the microscope again – not that he thinks it will affect his leading defender. “I don’t think it will be difficult because Virgil knows he is focused 100% on our team and is training well,” Pellegrino says Continue reading "Southampton’s Mauricio Pellegrino: ‘The biggest risk is to be alive, no?’"

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Eden Hazard may tire of being kicked, Tony Pulis is under pressure at West Brom and Pep Guardiola may seek more firepower in January Eden Hazard was fouled six times at Stamford Bridge. At one point in the second half the Belgium international was fouled by not one but three opponents in the colours of Manchester United, dragged to the ground by a combination of Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones like a man being crushed by falling trees. It is a regular experience for Chelsea’s No10, who can duck in and out from season to season, but who is at least consistent in his role as a human piñata for opposition teams. Hazard is kicked constantly in the Premier League, usually without complaint. He will be 27 in two months and it is hard to say whether he is a better player than he was three years ago. Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Burnley sink listless Southampton thanks to substitute Sam Vokes

If this was to be Sean Dyche’s last game as Burnley manager, he leaves them hovering just outside the Champions League places and presumably with the best wishes of everyone. This would be an appropriate way to depart too, a meat-and-potatoes 1-0 win against Southampton of the sort that most – fairly or not – would associate with Dyche’s style. Substitute Sam Vokes got the only goal, another apt detail because he was on the pitch as part of an astute tactical switch by Dyche, an aspect of his make-up that doesn’t get enough attention. Everton have plenty of problems but a shrewd football mind who can steer them through the next few months will solve a couple of them. Continue reading...

Southampton v Burnley: match preview

Burnley have lost just once on their travels this season and will go level on points with Chelsea and Arsenal if they win at St Mary’s. That might be easier said than done, with speculation growing that Sean Dyche is set to depart for Everton. Chris Wood faces a late fitness test on his hamstring, while Steven Defour should be available. For theMauricio Pellegrino’s inconsistent side hosts, Charlie Austin has recovered from a knock but Mario Lemina is out until after the international break. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have lacked consistency, but could stretch their unbeaten run to four games if the visitors prove to be distracted. Niall McVeigh Kick-off Saturday 3pm Continue reading...