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Koeman confident of winning tactics war with Liverpool

Ronald Koeman believes the key to defeating Jurgen Klopp's improving Liverpool comes in understanding the German's pressing game.

Koeman fancies his team's chances against Liverpool. Credit: PA

Much has been spoken about Klopp's favoured 'gegenpressing' system, with which he inspired such success at Borussia Dortmund and has worked well during his short time at Anfield.

However, Koeman is convinced Southampton have the measure of the system ahead of Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final clash against the new-look Reds.

He said:

We know Liverpool likes to press and if you beat the press then you have a lot of options and possibilities.

[Liverpool] have the fast transition when they get the ball. When you lose the ball, they play a different system to most teams with one striker and then two strikers behind the striker. It's hard to have a good defensive organisation.

I'm not afraid. I prepare my team always about what we can do and how we beat the press and then we have good opportunities to create chances. (We need to) be aware (about) what we did very poorly last weekend.

– Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp


Bolton in perilous financial position - Birch

Championship side Bolton are in an "increasingly perilous" financial situation according to advisor Trevor Birch.

The club failed to pay their first-team for November, it was confirmed on Monday, as owner Eddie Davies attempts to sell the Trotters.

Any hope of an imminent sale appears unlikely after Birch, hired to facilitate a takeover, confirmed none of those interested in purchasing Bolton were close to taking control from Davies, who is prepared to wipe out £185million of debt owed to him.

Trevor Birch is trying to sell the club. Credit: PA

We spoke to the players today and they remain upbeat and committed to doing all they can to help the club through this difficult time.

We're continuing to negotiate with interested parties but unfortunately no one party has demonstrated all the requisite elements needed to conclude a deal yet. The club's position is increasingly perilous and new investment is needed quickly.

We'd like to thank the fans for their continued support and all of the behind-the-scenes staff for their continued hard work in difficult circumstances.

– Trevor Birch

Klopp: Gerrard's presence in training will benefit Liverpool

Steven Gerrard's mere presence at Liverpool's training ground will provide his old colleagues with a boost, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

The 35-year-old LA Galaxy midfielder was back in familiar surroundings at Melwood this week as he joined his former team-mates at training to maintain his fitness during the post-season break for Major League Soccer.

Gerrard is back in training with Liverpool. Credit: PA

Klopp has already stressed that Gerrard will not be adding to the 500-plus appearances he has made for his hometown club over the next few weeks, yet he believes his influence will still be felt during his time back on Merseyside.

Asked about Gerrard's arrival at training on Monday, the German joked: "He won't play (against Southampton)! But he was in good shape.

"I said to the team before training, when he was with us in the dressing room, it's completely normal. It should always be like this.

"If you are a player like Steven Gerrard in Liverpool then the doors have to be open always - that's how it is at the moment. It's an important sign for all players.

"If you behave like him in the club, if you always give everything you have, then it's easy to come back and that's how it is at the moment. It's a good situation.

"He was a very important player and at this moment he is a very important player because he is in training.

"Everybody had a smile on their faces when they saw Stevie. It's good to have him here. We hope we can help him and he can help us for sure only with being in the dressing room - it's good."

The stats behind Chris Smalling's rise at Man United

No club has conceded fewer Premier League goals than Man United this season, where Chris Smalling is emerging as one of Europe's finest centre-backs.

Smalling has improved his performances for Man United this season. Credit: Oulala

The England defender is playing a crucial role in a Louis van Gaal side which has been breached just ten times in 14 matches.

Smalling has featured in all of those games while also establishing himself as a regular starter for Roy Hodgson's England team.

And it's to see why, looking at Smalling's Premier League stats in 2014/15 compared with this season, he has started attracting such positive media.

Smalling has a more impressive tackle success rate, wins more tackles per match, pulls off a greater number of interceptions and wins more aerial duels than he did last season.


Newcastle recall defender from Wolves loan spell

Struggling Newcastle have recalled central defender Mike Williamson from his loan spell at Wolves as they attempt top drag themselves out of relegation trouble.

Williamson is heading back to Newcastle for a relegation fight. Credit: PA

Williamson, 32, joined the Sky Bet Championship club until January in October, but is returning to St James' Park after Jamaal Lascelles suffered a hamstring injury during Saturday's 5-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace.

A Newcastle spokesman said: "Newcastle United have recalled defender Mike Williamson from a loan spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers after Jamaal Lascelles suffered a minor hamstring injury during Saturday's defeat at Crystal Palace.

"Williamson made five appearances for the Championship side after heading to Molineux in October, and was due to remain in the Midlands until January."

Man United midfielder addresses transfer speculation

Man United midfielder Ander Herrera has dismissed rumours linking him with a move away from the club.

Reports in various newspapers this morning claim the Spanish midfielder feels like his career has stalled at Old Trafford this season.

First team appearances have been reduced for Herrera with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin challenging for places.

But the 26 year-old took to Twitter this morning in a bid to end transfer speculation, by posting a screen shot of an interview he gave last week.

Speaking about his time at United, the pull-out quote reads: "I don't want this dream to finish. I have to play as well as possible if I want to play as long as I can at this club."

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