Belfast Telegraph

Jay Rodriguez urges Southampton to develop ruthless streak in front of goal

Jay Rodriguez has echoed boss Claude Puel's call for Southampton to become more ruthless in front of goal.

The Saints host Liverpool on Saturday having lost their past two Premier League fixtures largely because of their wastefulness in the final third.

Puel has already spoken of his intention to persevere with Southampton's creative approach, instead of attempting to nullify Liverpool's attacking threat, and also of their need to support leading goalscorer Charlie Austin.

Fellow forward Rodriguez is among those with the potential to be as clinical as Austin but his form has been unconvincing as he continues to pursue his confidence after two injury-disrupted seasons.

Puel's rotation policy, however, presents Rodriguez with regular first-team opportunities to add to Saints' meagre return of 12 goals in 11 league games so far this term.

The England international told Southampton's official website: "It will be crucial to make sure we take our chances.

"After the Hull game (when they led before squandering numerous chances and losing 2-1) we were very disappointed and we can't wait to put it right.

"The international break was a long break, but the lads are raring to go again.

"It's important that we focus on ourselves and make sure that we do our jobs properly on Saturday. We know how important these matches are, so we just want to get the three points."

Dusan Tadic and Fraser Forster have been passed fit to start at St Mary's, and there will also be late fitness tests for Ryan Bertrand, Cedric Soares and Shane Long.

Despite concerns surrounding Adam Lallana, who suffered an injury playing for England against Spain on Tuesday, he could yet be available and be joined in Liverpool's starting XI by fellow former Southampton players Dejan Lovren and Sadio Mane.

Rodriguez's finest form came during the 2013/14 season when Lallana and Lovren also excelled, but asked of the potential return of all three, the 27-year-old said: "It's normal to come up against old team-mates. You just need to be as professional as possible.

"During the game you are very focused on the match itself. You're in a team environment and you are just focused on a positive result."


From Belfast Telegraph