Southampton boss Pellegrino: Stephens stepping up thanks to Van Dijk sale

Lydia Fleming
February 12, 2018

All eyes were on Virgil van Dijk in the build-up to his Southampton return, but it was Firmino and Salah who drew most of the attention once the game began.

Liverpool's routine 2-0 win over struggling Southampton left Jurgen Klopp beaming, praising what he felt was a "nearly perfect" day at St Mary's. Sadio Mané has scored six goals in his last five Premier League appearances at St. Mary's Stadium but none of these were as a Liverpool player!

The scorer brilliantly returned the favour to his provider for Liverpool's second shortly before half-time; the contender for assist of the season came by virtue of a one-two which saw Firmino deliver an exquisite backheel that put Salah through on goal to claim his 29th of the season in all competitions.

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After Salah played the ball into Firmino's feet 5 yards outside Southampton's box, the South American proceeded to slide his teammate through on goal with the most sumptuous of flicked passes with his instep, with Salah going on to finish in typically-cool style.

"Hopefully we feel at the end of the game that we are growing and we are continuing with this feeling". They have only won three league matches on their own patch this season, and only one team in the Premier League has won fewer.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino said: "Liverpool is a huge possibility for us but a really tough side".

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The Saints have plenty of players enjoying good runs of form and hopefully we can see Guido Carrillo snatch his first goal for the side!

"If we were playing against towering defenders like Tony Adams and Jaap Stam and you were taking a set piece, you'd say "keep it away from him" or take the man away".

"It won't be a friendly game; they fight for everything, we fight for everything".

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