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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

Stoke manager aiming to finish above Southampton

The Potters are on a roll. Credit: PA

Mark Hughes hopes Saturday's win at Southampton provides another step in Stoke's progression up the Barclays Premier League table.

Bojan Krkic's 10th-minute strike secured City's first win at St Mary's, and their first on the south coast in 35 years.

Southampton have led the charge of the teams chasing the traditional top-six clubs in recent seasons, but Hughes feels this could be the year Stoke overtake them.

"Southampton have done really well in recent years finishing top-10, top-eight, top-seven, and we haven't quite been able to catch them," said the City boss.

"But maybe this is the season we'll be able to do that."


Davis lauds 'vital' Southampton striker Graziano Pelle

Steven Davis believes Graziano Pelle is "vital" to Southampton after the striker scored his ninth goal of the season in Sunday's win over Bournemouth.

Pelle celebrates his goal against Bournemouth. Credit: PA

Northern Ireland midfielder Davis opened the scoring as Saints beat their south-coast rivals 2-0 at St Mary's to move up to seventh in the Premier League.

Pelle added the second just five minutes after Davis' opener - powerfully heading home Dusan Tadic's cross in his now-trademark style.

The Italian has been playing well of late and, having already been praised by manager Ronald Koeman after the victory, Davis has added to the plaudits.

Davis said of the 30-year-old striker:

I think he plays a vital role. I think everybody knows we like to try and play football, but he also gives us that outlet if we want to go a little bit more direct and he can cause teams a lot of problems.

We can play off him and he's probably one of the best in the league in terms of doing that, so he's been magnificent for us. Obviously, the goals that he's scored as well, you can see he's playing full of confidence.

– Southampton striker Graziano Pelle


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