Southampton host Liverpool on Friday – the third time in the last six matches that the Saints have faced top-six opposition – when they will be hoping to, once again, build on their excellent displays of late and move one step closer to safety.
As we all know, though, the Reds are having an unbelievable season and will be hoping to leave St Mary’s Stadium with all three points – so tight is the title race that they won’t accept anything less.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have come on leaps and bounds since last year, when they were a relentless attacking machine who could win 4-3 most week, to one which wins 4-0 instead – having former Southampton man Virgil van Dijk at the back helps, too.
The German can recognise managerial brilliance when he sees it and has heaped praise on his opposite number, Ralph Hasenhuttl, ahead of another season-defining week for the Reds:
“In the time Ralph [Hasenhuttl] is in at Southampton I think they are eighth in the form table – that gives you good information about the intensity of the game probably.
“[Southampton] play a clear style of football. I have to say the job he is doing there is incredible. He brought young players in, academy players, a pretty brave decision.
“It’s a really good side, and the analysis was really interesting because it doesn’t look like a team that fights to stay in the league. They do what they do and they stick to it.”
Indeed, Klopp is right to praise the Saints boss – he has completed flipped their season on its head since taking over from Mark Hughes in December and the south coast outfit look almost certain to evade the drop, despite their situation looking pretty bleak a few months ago.
The impact Ralph Hasenhüttl has had at Southampton is certainly evident in the video below…
They were unlucky not to take at least a point from their clash with Manchester United at the start of March – that was their best performance of the season then – but, since, they have carried that momentum into every game and have been able to get the results their displays have warranted.
Having got the better of Spurs last time out, will they cause another big upset this weekend?