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Emotional Koeman praises Saints' belief

Ronald Koeman praised his side's belief after they overcame a two goal deficit to beat Liverpool 3-2 at St. Marys.

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Michael Steele/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman praised his side's belief after his side mounted a second half comeback to beat Liverpool 3-2 at St. Mary's on Sunday afternoon.

First half strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool in a comfortable position as the two sides headed into the dressing rooms at the break. They could've arguably had more than two goals after a poor first half showing from Ronald Koeman's Southampton and Liverpool looking threatening on the attack.

However, the Saints boss made a double substitution at half time with Sadio Mané and the returning Victor Wanyama both making big impacts off the bench. After missing from the penalty spot, Mané scored either side of Graziano Pellè's fine finish to give Southampton the victory over their rivals for the Europa League qualification spots. Koeman praised the fight and the belief that his side showed in the second half.

He said: "We did several mistakes in the first half. We gave too much space away. We were lucky in half time to only be 2-0 down.

"We kept the belief and the spirit in the game and we scored great goals. It was well deserved, a great game, great support from the fans and this is all what football is. I’m proud of the team."

Koeman also praised the impact of the half time substitutes with Mané, whose last Saints goal came in the 6-1 Capital One Cup defeat to Liverpool in December, and Victor Wanyama returning from a five game suspension.

"The two substitutes, Sadio and Victor, had a big, big impact in the game in the second half.

"First of all, the position on the midfield needed a stronger player in that position because we lost a little bit of control in the first half. And Sadio is a different player to Dušan [Tadić], he's faster. He’s showed great belief in himself."

Mané's late winner saw Koeman run down the touchline to join in with the celebrations, a moment that the Dutchman said marked the best possible present ahead of his birthday tomorrow.

"I was emotional because we were 2-0 down against Liverpool. We were lucky by half time that we were only 2-0 down. The reaction of the players makes it special.

"It’s a great result. We spoke about it before Stoke that these two games before the international break were two must win games. We take six points out of that and that’s amazing.

"It’s the best present that everyone can give me today!"