Moussa Dembele backs Celtic in Europa League after Zenit draw

Moussa Dembele is confident Celtic can make an impact in the Europa League as they look ahead to a last-32 tie against Zenit St Petersburg.
The Hoops, who finished third in the Champions League group, were paired on Monday with the Russian club, who topped their Europa League section with five wins and a draw.
The first leg is at Celtic Park on February 15 with the return game in St Petersburg a week later.

Michael Owen says Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is the player Liverpool need

Liverpool have been heavily linked with a move for Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
When speaking exclusively to BT Sport, ex-Reds striker Michael Owen explained how things really will be looking up for his former club if they manage to get a deal for Saints centre-back Virgil van Dijk over the line soon.
Liverpool have been quite sensational going forward this season, but question marks remain over their fragile defence, and Jürgen Klopp will surely be prioritising the addition of an established centre-back in January.
One of their prime targets is the Southampton ace, although Yahoo Sports claim that it would take £70 million to prise him away from St Mary’s.

The 26-year-old is one of the most highly-rated defenders in the league, however, and although £70 million seems rather extortionate on the face of it, in today’s currently inflated transfer market, it could very well prove to be good value for the Merseyside outfit.
And Owen labelled the Dutchman as a ‘proper player’, when speaking to BT Sport, insisting that things will be looking up for the Reds, if they manage to sign Van Dijk:
“Van Dijk is a proper player. If they can get him and Keita in midfield, things are looking up.”
With the opening of the January transfer window just three weeks away, this will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

Young gun Danny De Silva haunts Perth Glory in 1-0 loss to Mariners

Substitute Blake Powell has propelled Central Coast to a one-sided 1-0 win over a gritty Perth and into the A-League’s top four.
Last weekend, Powell marked his return from nearly a year injured with an assist against Wellington.
At Gosford on Sunday, the 26-year-old attacker replaced Kwabena Appiah with 13 minutes to play and within 60 seconds had created and scored the game’s only goal.
That the two sides could not be separated early was scarcely believable, such was the Mariners’ dominance.
They were finally rewarded when Powell played an inch-perfect pass to star playmaker Danny De Silva, who rushed to the byline and cut back for Powell to hammer it under the crossbar.
The result gives the Mariners back-to-back wins for the first time since February and lifts Paul Okon’s team to fourth, leaving travel-weary Perth seventh.
Okon said capitalising on chances was still a work in progress.
“It’s an area we’re working on, we’re improving at it,” he said.
“In the end the goal comes from a bit of Daniel De Silva magic and Powelly finishes it off,” he said.
“Delighted for Blake, he’s worked hard the past six months … and he gets his reward this evening.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Okon opted for an unchanged XI from a 4-1 away shellacking of the Phoenix.

They were met by a Glory outfit missing attacking trio Diego Castro, Adam Taggart and Andy Keogh, the skipper unable to overcome a groin issue in time.
Keogh’s strike replacement Joe Knowles made his first start since his debut two years ago and the 21-year-old might have made an impact had he been given some service.
For the Glory could barely keep 30 per cent possession early on and by halftime the home team had everything but a goal.
Jake McGing’s work rate and impeccable crossing yielded two strong chances for Appiah, who was thwarted by Liam Reddy.

Man-of-the-match De Silva pleased the 8115-strong crowd with his trickery, flicking a cute backheel to Andrew Hoole amid his constant menace.
The Glory relied on some timely last-line defending and the odd counter-attack that would have put them ahead just before the break had Ben Kennedy not expertly denied an on-target Mitch Nichols.
Central Coast could not quite maintain their first-half fluency and Perth, the most prolific side in the last 15 minutes of games, slowly circled.

But Wout Brama burst free and deftly teed up Appiah in the goal mouth, only for Joseph Mills to get there first, before Powell came off the bench.
“We weren’t disgraced here,” said Glory coach Kenny Lowe.
“First 20 minutes they were good value and probably controlled the game and then the last 25 we sussed it out and it was even.
“Second half we did quite well, took their sting away and started to get into it.”