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Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino has confirmed his side will be without Mario Lemina for their match at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.

The Saints make the trip up the M6 to Merseyside finding themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League table, with just one win in six matches.

Southampton will hope that the international break came at the right time for them as they look to turn around their form. They have had two weeks to assess where they have been going wrong, and plan how to correct any issues they have.

Unfortunately the Saints will have to try and begin the recovery without influential midfielder Lemina, who will be a big loss for the match.

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The former Juventus man has been suffering from an ankle injury, and while he has returned to Southampton training in the international break, Pellegrino confirmed that this match comes around too soon for him.

“Mario Lemina was training well, much better than before,” the Saints boss was quoted as saying by their official website.

“But he will not be ready to play Saturday.

“We look at his problem three weeks ago and he’s improved a lot [since then]. But it is too soon to put him on the pitch.”

The fixture on Saturday will be the first time the two sides have met since the long running saga over a potential transfer for Virgil van Dijk in the summer.

Liverpool were strongly linked with the central defender in the previous transfer window, but Southampton held firm and kept their man which means the Dutchman could face a mixed reception at Anfield.

One person who is likely to get a warm welcome is Pellegrino. The Argentine, who is now in charge at St Mary’s Stadium, is a former Reds player and makes a rare return to his former club.

The Southampton boss will be looking to put sentiment to one side though and guide his team to an important three points.