Ronald Koeman believes all thoughts of Saints struggling this season should be dispelled by his side’s opening day performance at Liverpool.

Though Saints lost the game at Anfield 2-1, they gave as good as they got and so nearly bagged an equaliser in the dying minutes.

All the talk in the build-up in the wider footballing world was just how bad rather than how good Saints would be this season after losing their manager and many of their big names during a tough summer.

Many even tipped them for relegation, despite the fact they finished eighth last season.

Koeman even hinted that the squad had to prove to themselves, as well as other people, that were good enough.

But he feels that was achieved quite empathically by the performance at Anfield against an expensively assembled Liverpool squad who have title ambitions.

He said: “Always there is one answer to all of those stories – it’s between the white lines to show the people, and first to show ourselves that we have to believe in our qualities.

“It was one of the messages that we gave the boys before the match and little by little we did it.

“We played a great, impressive second half and that’s the way how we like to play and if we play like that with that team spirit I don’t think that we will struggle in the whole season.”

Koeman was happy to admit that his side had a share of misfortune not to get something from the game.

But he was also realistic enough to admit that Liverpool’s attacking quality enabled them to take two of their few chances and that clinical nature in front of goal proved the difference and meant that they duly earned their three points.

“Yes, it was unlucky but finally always the final score makes the points,” reflected Koeman.

“I think we played a great, impressive second half and after the 1-1 I think there was one team on the pitch playing and it was Southampton.

“We did everything well, minus to score the second one.

“We created two great possibilities, opportunities, but the quality of Liverpool they don’t need a lot of opportunities to score two goals and that made the difference. That always makes the difference in football.

“The way we played brings us a lot of confidence and if we play like this the points will come.”