Mauricio Pellegrino is hoping Southampton’s increased belief will shine through against Liverpool when they host the Reds in Sunday afternoon’s Premier League clash at St Mary’s.
Saints climbed out of the relegation zone last weekend after a 3-2 win at West Brom, and, having also gone six games without defeat across all competitions, Pellegrino says the mood is a positive one.
“I said after the West Brom game that we have greater belief in ourselves now and that is the most important drug in this moment for our team,” he said.
“We have a huge challenge coming up for Liverpool and we want to improve on our last experience at Anfield (when Saints lost 3-0). A different performance is needed because we are playing an amazing side with great quality and we have to be prepared.
“Our mentality now is good. Since January, and in recent games, we are growing. We have to be humble enough to keep improving and acknowledge that we can do better every single weekend. Every step that we take – no matter how small – is going to make a big difference for us.”
Pellegrino also believes the recent 1-1 draw at home to high-flying Tottenham gives Southampton an good indication of what they need to do to be successful against Jürgen Klopp’s side.
“The Spurs game here at St Mary’s will be a useful reference for us; they are similar in their style, dangerous in attack, organised in defence,” he said. “When you play against this type of team, you need to be almost perfect to beat them.
“Our challenge is to play the right way under pressure and move the ball well in small spaces because I imagine the game will be very tight and played at high intensity. Our plan is to press as hard as we can while Liverpool are fast and aggressive in front.
“My feeling now is that my team is much better prepared now than it was at Anfield.
“We have to stand together with the fans and show our energy from the beginning. If we do that, they will get right behind us.”