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Monday 18 December 2017

Pellegrino eyes Reds shock

Mauricio Pellegrino
Mauricio Pellegrino

Mauricio Pellegrino has vowed to create problems for Liverpool when he visits his former club for the first time as Southampton manager. 

Pellegrino, the former Argentina international, spent time at Anfield in both playing and coaching capacities alongside Rafael Benitez, before going it alone as a manager in his own right.

The 46-year-old has managed in both his homeland and LaLiga - with Valencia and then Alaves - before replacing Claude Puel at St Mary's in the summer.

It has not been an easy transition to life in the Premier League for Pellegrino - with his side struggling for both points and goals - and he will head to Anfield tomorrow in need of a morale-boosting result.

"It will be a nice experience for me," Pellegrino said as he looked ahead to his Merseyside return. "I had a really happy time in my career as a player and as a coach at Liverpool.

"But on Saturday it is a nice opportunity to represent Southampton, and we will try to play well, play a good game and create problems for Liverpool."

One Southampton player Pellegrino could also have been without is Virgil van Dijk after the wantaway defender handed in a transfer request last summer in a bid to push through a move to Liverpool.

But Saints dug in their heels, and, Pellegrino insists his centre-half is fully focused on the job in hand.

"Virgil is training well and thinking about our club," Pellegrino added. "We cannot control the market and all the whispers."

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