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Southampton need Anfield outing where “everything is perfect” to beat Liverpool

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl admits his side require a “perfect” afternoon to end their miserable run of results away to Liverpool.

Saints have suffered four successive Premier League defeats at Anfield without scoring, two of which have come during Hasenhuttl’s tenure.

Southampton’s last top-flight victory on the red half of Merseyside was more than eight years ago during the reign of Mauricio Pochettino.

Hasenhuttl was in tears after guiding Saints to victory over Jurgen Klopp’s side at St Mary’s in January but is not allowing himself to contemplate the prospect of repeating that feat on opposition territory on Saturday.

“It’s better not to use too much energy about how it would feel after this,” he said of possible victory.

“When it comes, I’m sure it doesn’t feel that bad.

“To do this you need an unbelievably good game where everything is perfect: a perfect referee, a perfect game plan, scoring a goal in the right moment, having an unbelievable goalkeeper, everybody on the absolutely highest level.

“This is the day you have to be in, for this day we prepare and this is what we want to do.

“You need everything to get something there but I can guarantee you one thing that we are brave and we want to be active.”

Captain James Ward-Prowse is the only current Southampton player who played in the 1-0 success under Pochettino back in September 2013.

The 27-year-old England international is poised to make his 200th league start for the club this weekend.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 25, 2017: Southampton's James Ward-Prowse in action against Liverpool during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ward-Prowse initially struggled to make an impact when Hasenhuttl succeeded Mark Hughes in December 2018 but eventually proved his worth.

“We had a building up relationship, in the beginning he took a while until he was part of the first XI,” said Hasenhuttl.

“The things I demanded from him, I spelt out very clearly and then he also showed it relatively quick what we expect from him and what we demand from him.

“You have seen the progress he has made in the last three years now since I am here.

“What I like from this player is when you show him something, when you criticise him for something he’s immediately able to switch it and to improve. This is very good behaviour from a player.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 1, 2020: Southampton's manager Ralph Hasenhüttl (R) and Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He’s always open-minded, he’s always willing to learn and this is never a disadvantage for your development when you have this character and this is what I like the most.”

Saints are bidding to bounce back from last weekend’s 2-1 loss at lowly Norwich, having picked up an impressive 10 points from the previous 12 available.

Nathan Redmond and Moussa Djenepo return to contention following the birth of a child and a knock respectively but Stuart Armstrong (calf) is still out, while Jack Stephens is unlikely to feature despite resuming training following a knee issue.

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