“If the best team in the world has 50 minutes with no idea what they should do and no chances, then this gives you a massive lift,” said Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl after his team’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.
Liverpool, who opened up a commanding 22-point gap at the top of the Premier League table with the win, scored four times after the restart with the first coming on 47 minutes via former Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Jordan Henderson would double the Liverpool lead on the hour mark before Mohamed Salah found the net twice in the closing the stages.
“You need to be clinical, but we were a bit hectic in the finish and a bit unlucky when Ingsy hit Longy’s heel, maybe that could’ve been a goal,” said Hasenhuttl to the Official Southampton Website. “I think for everybody it was fantastic to see that we can compete against such a team. It was a fantastic signal of how good we are and how it can go and how we can win.”
Southampton was denied a penalty after ex-Liverpool striker Danny Ings hit the deck following a clumsy challenge from Fabinho — Oxlade-Chamberlain would go on to break the deadlock.
Ings, however, had his chances in the first half to give a scrappy Saints a lead only to be denied twice by Alisson after Alex McCarthy had made a double-save at the other end.
The defeat brought Southampton’s run of four consecutive wins away from St Mary’s — a place they have struggled — to an end.
Southampton has an FA Cup Fourth Round replay against Tottenham to contend with on Wednesday before a string of fixtures against teams near and below in the table.
Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum (Minamino 81), Fabinho, Henderson (Lallana 88), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Keita 73), Salah, Firmino
Unused subs: Adrian (GK), Lovren, Origi, Matip
Goals: Oxlade-Chamberlain (47), Henderson (60), Salah (71, 90)
Southampton: McCarthy, Bertrand, Bednarek, Stephens, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Djenepo (Boufal 82), Long (Obafemi 70), Ings (Adams 70)
Unused subs: Gunn (GK), Vestergaard, Smallbone, Danso
Bookings: Ward-Prowse (65), Stephens (89)