herald

Friday 24 March 2017

Puel sweats on Van Dijk fitness for Anfield tie

Virgil van Dijk. Pic: Reuters
Virgil van Dijk. Pic: Reuters

Southampton manager Claude Puel is sweating on the fitness of Virgil van Dijk ahead of the crucial League Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool tomorrow.

Saints hold a slender 1-0 advantage heading to Anfield as they seek to reach their first major cup final since 2003, but they may have to do without the Dutchman who picked up an ankle knock during their 3-0 win over Leicester on Sunday.

Van Dijk's injury took the gloss off Southampton's impressive victory at St Mary's, which marked the end of a torrid run of four straight defeats in the Premier League. Despite the 25-year-old indicating on his Twitter account that the setback is not too serious, Puel is uncertain on whether the defender will travel with the team to Merseyside.

"It was a good kick (on his ankle)," Puel said. "He couldn't continue the game yesterday, for example.

"It is not serious but I do not know if he can participate for this game. He is having a scan and I will wait for the results at the moment."

Following Jose Fonte's £8million transfer to West Ham last week, Puel named Van Dijk as the new team captain at St Mary's.

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