Watch Live: Southampton vs. Liverpool (Lineups and Discuss)

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Will Southampton surprise once more, winning at St. Mary’s today to do the double over Liverpool this season? (Watch live on NBCSN and online on NBC Sports Live Extra at 12:30 p.m. ET).

The Saints will need to push aside memories of last week’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham, their first loss in seven league outings. At this point, however, it’s pretty much pride that Southampton are playing for: they’re not part of the relegation struggle that’s plaguing every side in the bottom half of the table, but they’re also 11 points outside of the final European position.

Liverpool, on the other hand, could do with a bit more security. They’re currently six points clear of Tottenham, but would certainly like to secure third place rather than be forced to play into the Champions League. A win at Southampton could take them into third, although Manchester City would have not one but two games in hand by the end of the weekend. And with their eight game unbeaten run, combined with twelve goals scored in their last three matches, well, Liverpool will likely make things difficult for the hosts.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

Mauricio Pochettino keeps the faith in his squad, making just one change, with Dejan Lovren returning to the starting lineup. Alas, Twitter users, that means he won’t be providing commentary through the Saints’ official account.

Brendan Rodgers switches things up a little, with Raheem Sterling dropping to the bench, and Joe Allen coming into midfield. For the most part, however, the lineup remains similar to the starting XI that beat Swansea 4-3 last time out.

LINEUPS

Southampton:Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert

Subs: Gazzaniga (GK), Clyne, Yoshida, Ramírez, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Gallagher

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Sturridge, Suarez

Subs: Jones, Toure, Cissokho, Moses, Aspas, Sterling, Teixeira

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.