Hasenhüttl relishing Liverpool challenge

By SFC Media time Thu 04 Apr Saints v Liverpool
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl will tomorrow pit his side against an opponent he believes to be the best pressing team in England, but he has every confidence his players can cause Liverpool problems of their own.

Saints face the Reds in a highly-anticipated fixture under the lights at St Mary's, as they look to earn a third successive Premier League victory that would have a significant impact on the title race between Jürgen Klopp's men and Manchester City.

The challenge facing Hasenhüttl and his team is no doubt a big one, with City the only side to have beaten Liverpool in the top-flight this season, but the Southampton boss has faith that his players can show to all those watching that they are capable of posing some questions of their own to the opposition.

this team are, in every position, on a very high level.

ralph hasenhüttl
on liverpool

"I think it's the best pressing team in the Premier League, with a lot of quality in the attacking three positions, and they know you have to have a good gameplan and also a good balance of taking risks or playing in areas where you don't have to play," said Hasenhüttl. 

"That means we have to have a very good preparation for the game. I think the guys during the week were very concentrated and hard working and, with the last two wins in the mind, that helps us, sure, because we showed that we can also create problems for big teams at home in St Mary's.

"Although Liverpool lost only one game this year, you never know. Maybe nine out of ten games you lose against such a team, but we are looking for this one game on Friday."

Hasenhüttl added: "You know this team doesn't have a lot of weakness in playing, also in away games.

"It's always the same – finding a good balance, finding the right moments to press, to attack, but also be aware of losing balls in some positions, because they have a very quick and very good transition forward.

"Everything you know about this team is they are, in every position, on a very high level and combined with a good, tactical plan, and that makes this challenge a huge one."

One advantage Hasenhüttl perhaps has on his side is an element of surprise, having used two different systems to excellent effect in the wins over Tottenham and Brighton.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: Ralph Hasenhuttl of Southampton during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton FC at American Express Community Stadium on March 30, 2019 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Ralph Hasenhüttl celebrates three points at Brighton last Saturday (Photo: Matt Watson)

"It was a big advantage against Brighton," he said. "What I heard after the game is they were preparing for a 5-2-3 the whole time, and then it was a surprise for them that we changed the shape.

"After winning against Tottenham, we played a different shape against Brighton, so you never really can expect it.

"The team showed that they are now tactically more flexible. We were working very hard for three weeks on this 4-2-2-2, and it's also an option for tomorrow."


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