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Why no Pelle against Man City is a good thing for Southampton

| 27.11.2015

Graziano Pelle’s suspension for Southampton’s trip to Manchester City could be a blessing in disguise for the Saints.

This is because Liverpool’s demolition of City showed a new way to break down Manuel Pellegrini’s men and could provide inspiration for a similar result this weekend.

Ronald Koeman’s side are priced at 5/1 to win at The Eithad, but this upset could be more likely now that Pelle is unavailable.

The absence of the Italian forward forces the Dutch manager to have the speedy Shane Long and Sadio Mane as his main attacking options.

Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho showed the weaknesses Joe Hart and company have when dealing with pacey players and this will provide encouragement for the Saints.

Liverpool’s success at The Etihad wasn’t based on possession dominance or a patient probing build up, they utilised their agility.

Indeed, the Reds had less of the ball, managing only 41.6 per cent possession, and were less composed when they had it, with a pass completion percentage of 67.9 compared to the Citizens’ 76.6.

Instead they focused on energetic and combative play in the final third, with the front men continually chasing down defenders to win back the ball.

Jurgen Klopp’s men managed to retrieve the ball 73 times in attacking positions to help put them on the front foot and inflict a heavy defeat on the blue side of Manchester.

Liverpool’s attacking options then used this recovery of the ball to truly put the hosts under pressure, with 25 crosses and five clear-cut chances.

Koeman now has the opportunity to use this as a guideline as he prepares his team for the difficult trip to Manchester.

Long and Mane should be able to mirror the achievements of Firmino and Coutinho as they are in a similar mould to the two Brazilians, with this likely to cause the same kind of problems City had to deal with last week.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.