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PL roundup: Saints go marching up; Chelsea close in on 4th

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the Premier League…

[ MORE: Southampton a point from safety | Chelsea two points back of 4th ]

Southampton 2-1 BournemouthFULL RECAP

If Southampton are to stave off relegation this season, Saturday’s south coast derby triumph over Bournemouth will likely be remembered as the turning point. Saints entered the weekend in 19th place, four points behind 17th-place Swansea City. Thanks to Dusan Tadic‘s brace (WATCH HERE) at St. Mary’s Stadium, and Swansea’s narrow defeat to Chelsea, Southampton now occupy 18th place and trail the Swans by a single point. On May 8, the next-to-last game of the season for both sides, Swansea host Southampton.

Liverpool 0-0 Stoke CityFULL RECAP

One could call Liverpool’s scoreless draw with 18th- (now 19th-)place Stoke a hangover after the emotional toll of Tuesday’s Champions League semifinals first-leg thrashing of Roma, but in truth the Reds were their typically dominant selves, only without the precision and final touch which have come to define their campaign. Having out-shot the Potters by a margin of 20-5, Liverpool managed just two shots on target (1 for Stoke) while holding more than 72 percent of the game’s possession. Jurgen Klopp‘s side sits third, four points clear of Tottenham Hotspur, who now have two games in hand.

Swansea City 0-1 ChelseaFULL RECAP

Cesc Fabregas scored the game’s only goal, in the 4th minute, as fifth-place Chelsea continued their mini-revival (three straight wins) and their bid to reel in Tottenham and realize an unlikely top-four finish. The gap between the London powers is just two points, though Spurs have a game in hand, which they’ll play at home against Watford on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), on the Blues.

Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

Either Claude Puel‘s Leicester players are already on a beach for the summer (a top-10 finish is all but mathematically guaranteed), or Roy Hodgson convinced his Palace players that every team below them in the PL table would win every game they play for the rest of the season thus they needed one more (truly emphatic) victory to secure their top-division status for next season (they now sit 11th, six points clear of the drop zone). Either way, the Eagles made light work of the 10-man Foxes, courtesy of five different goalscorers delighted the Selhurst Park faithful.

Burnley 0-0 Brighton & Hove AlbionFULL RECAP

Burnley’s bid to usurp Arsenal for a top-six finish likely came to an end on Saturday. It was already a long shot (four-point deficit to make up, having already played one more game), thus a scoreless draw with Brighton leaves Sean Dyche‘s men three points behind the Gunners with only two games left to play (Arsenal have four).

Huddersfield Town 0-2 EvertonFULL RECAP

Huddersfield are probably safe, given the fact that both Swansea and Southampton would have to make up two- and three-point gaps in order to leapfrog them and see the Terriers to fall to 18th, but a point (or all three) at home against Everton would have put to bed any lingering fears. Alas, Cenk Tosun and Idrissa Gueye scored to all but lock the Toffees into an eighth-place finish following a disastrous start to the season which looked headed for a relegation battle for a number of months.

Newcastle United 0-1 West Bromwich AlbionFULL RECAP

West Brom beat Newcastle to delay the inevitable, their relegation to the Championship, courtesy of Matt Phillips‘ 29th-minute winner. Even still, the Baggies are five points from safety with just two games left to play. The next time they drop two points (or Swansea win two), they’ll be gone.

Sunday’s PL schedule

West Ham United vs. Manchester City — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Manchester United vs. Arsenal — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Monday’s PL schedule

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.