Virgil van Dijk left out as Southampton draw with Huddersfield

Virgil van Dijk was once again left out in the cold as his side drew 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield.

Published: December 24, 2017 12:18:29 am

Van Dijk has been a long-term target for Liverpool and has been linked to Manchester City and Chelsea. (Source: Reuters)

Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk was once again left out in the cold as his side drew 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield on Saturday, with the storm of transfer rumours around the Dutch defender continuing to grow. Van Dijk, a long-term target for Liverpool who has also had his name linked to Manchester City and Chelsea, was an unused substitute in the 1-0 loss to Chelsea the previous weekend and was left out of the squad entirely against Huddersfield.

After withstanding an opening barrage from the visitors, Southampton took the lead half-way through the first half when Wesley Hoedt flicked on James Ward-Prowse’s corner and Charlie Austin stooped to head the ball into the net. Southampton pressed hard for a second but Laurent Depoitre equalised for Huddersfield in the 64th minute, slipping between Maya Yoshida and Jack Stevens to head home and secure a well-earned point for his side.

Stoke victory eases pressure on manager Hughes

First-half goals from Joe Allen and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and a late strike by Ramadan Sobhi helped Stoke City seal a 3-1 Premier League victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and ease the pressure on manager Mark Hughes. Stoke, who came into the game on the back of three defeats, went ahead 1-0 when midfielder Joe Allen tapped in from close range in the 19th minute after Peter Crouch fired the ball across goal.

Poor defending from West Brom led to Stoke doubling their advantage as Choupo-Moting rounded goalkeeper Ben Foster and prodded into an empty net with virtually the last kick of the opening 45 minutes. West Brom pulled a goal back early in the second half through striker Salomon Rondon, who latched on to a looping pass before beating Jack Butland, but Sobhi settled the game with a for neat finish in stoppage time.

“I thought my players were excellent today,” Hughes said. “There was a lot of pressure on us. As a group, we understood that and maybe we have to accept the reasons why that was. “We had to come out and show a real determination and I thought in the first half especially we were top drawer. We could have buckled under the pressure a little bit, but the lads showed patience and character to their play.” Stoke moved to 14th in the table while West Brom are just a point off the foot of the table in 19th place and without a win in 18 games in all competitions.

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