Jay Rodriguez backs Southampton to cope without Man Utd target Jose Fonte ahead of Liverpool League Cup tie

Jay Rodriguez - 4/10

Jay Rodriguez has assured Southampton fans that the team can cope without captain Jose Fonte as the defender’s transfer request once again keeps him out of the team.

The European Championship winner has told Claude Puel and the club’s hierarchy that he would like to leave the club this month, with many suggesting that he wants to play for his compatriot Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

Puel’s men host Premier League high-fliers Liverpool in the first-leg semi-final of the EFL Cup, six weeks after a stalemate with Jurgen Klopp’s men in the league.

Rodriguez told The Times: “Yes, of course [Southampton can cope without Fonte]. The squad we have is very strong.

“I’m not too sure [Southampton are a feeder club]. Look at the lads we have brought in. They have done really well and it’s not like it’s going backwards in terms of where we have finished in the league. Players come and go in football. It’s part of it.”

The striker will be keen to help his side get the advantage ahead of the second-leg at Anfield in a fortnight, with the home side having lost three of their last four games in all competitions.

After the cup, it is a return to league action against Burnley before their FA Cup third round replay against Norwich City, with a game against Arsenal in the fourth round at stake.

 Jay Rodriguez has a shot accuracy of 64%, the highest of any Southampton player in the Premier League.

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