Adam Lallana looks poised to exchange his Southampton shirt for a Liverpool shirt.

Southampton 4-1 Hull City: Saints are flying high – video

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The Saints are marching in, indeed. And on. And up. Southampton’s all-too-easy victory over Hull City, combined with Chelsea’s draw with West Brom, puts the Saints in third place. Sure, Everton could cancel that out with a late victory over Crystal Palace, but it’s still certain: this start is not a fluke from Southampton.

The first half could hardly have gone better for Southampton, who saw themselves into fourth by the time the whistle blew for the break. The hosts had their first goal after a quarter of an hour had passed. Rickie Lambert wiggled his way in between two Hull defenders, heading across the face of goal. An inrushing Morgan Schneiderlin got his head on the end of the pass, knocking it past Steve Harper.

Hull very nearly had an instant reply, taking advantage of a slight slip in the Saints’ defense as the visitors sent in a corner. However, Paul McShane’s header went high, and that was about the last time the Tigers showed signs of life in the first half.

Instead it was Southampton who found a second. Harper came rushing out of goal and slid into Lallana, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Lambert stepped up to take, smashing the shot into the roof of the net.

But the Saints weren’t done just yet. Less than ten minutes later, Lallana put in the third, all before 40 minutes were up. The Englishman’s individual goal must’ve impressed Roy Hodgson, there to keep an eye on his three England callups. About 30 yards out, Lallana received the ball from Lambert then took it up the left, weaving and dancing around two Hull defenders. He easily slipped around Ahmed Elmohamady to send the ball across Harper and into the top corner.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup: Big wins for Liverpool, Saints, Norwich, Villa, Chelsea fight back – video)

For those just glancing at the scoreline, it seemed like Bruce’s halftime talk may have actually had some effect — after all, Hull managed to grab a goal 10 minutes after the restart. But in fact it was a bit of a mix up from Artur Boruc that started it all. The Southampton goalkeeper elected to pass the ball to Victor Wanyama, who was being closed down by Yannick Sabo. Sabo snatched away the ball to put it in the back of the net.

Although Bruce did his best to ring the changes, Southampton were more than up to the challenge. In fact, there was little challenge, what with Jake Livermore placing his shot high, and Robert Koren heading the ball wide.

The Saints took advantage instead, grabbing yet another in the 88th minute. Nathaniel Clyne put in the cross and substitute Steven Davis, on for Wanyama, easily slid the ball past Harper and into the bottom corner. Job well done for Southampton.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama (S. Davis 63), Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Cork 84), Rodriguez, Lambert (Osvaldo 76)

Subs not used: K. Davis, Chambers, Hooiveld, Gallagher

Goals: Schneiderlin 16′; Lambert 30′; Lallana 37′; Davis 88′

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior, Figueroa, Davies, McShane, Elmohamady (Koren 45), Boyd (Quinn 80), Meyler (Graham 73), Huddlestone, Livermore, Sagbo

Subs not used: Jakupovic, Bruce, Gedo, Proschwitz

Goals: Sagbo 55′

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.