Mark Hughes has urged Saints to meet the daunting prospect of a trip to Liverpool with positivity.

Saints could be forgiven for feeling a little intimidated heading to Anfield with the Reds having been in great form this season with a perfect record of five wins from five Premier League games.

Without Danny Ings it looks even harder for Saints, and there must be a temptation for Hughes to ditch his 4-4-2 formation and park the bus with a 4-5-1.

However, he wants his team to go out with the right attitude no matter what the tactics.

He said: “I think you have to acknowledge the opposition you are up against but there are different ways of playing different formations against these teams and you can still come up with the same outcome, which is a defeat.

“It’s less about formations and more about attitude and application and making it difficult for the opponents you are up against to have any impact on the game.

“That’s very difficult at a place like Anfield because they have individual talents in the team they have built that can win games on their own. Even if those players are having a bad day they can hurt you and you go there with the intention of being solid but sometimes have to hold your hands up if an individual takes the stage and affects the game. Sometimes there is not a lot you can do about that.

“We need to be positive in terms of where we are. The results probably haven’t illustrated the fact but we feel we are playing well for good periods in games against the opposition we have faced up until this point and we are encouraged by that.

“If you are going to go to Anfield it is better to go with confidence in your play and what you are trying to achieve than going there thinking you are going to get beaten, or well beaten, and have apprehension in your play in the first place.

“We are going there with the intention of continuing to perform at a good level.”

Taking on a top six team away from home is normally a thankless task for the majority of top flight managers, but Hughes is undaunted.

“I have to make a decision on who plays and the structure of the team without the benefit of hindsight,” he smiled. “Everybody else is able to use hindsight after the event. It’s the lot of the manager and you accept that.

“I will go with the team that gives us the best chance of getting a positive result and that never changes.

“I’ve got some ideas, clearly, in terms of what we need to do well to enable us to get those positive results and on the day if we execute and perform the way I know we are capable of then we have a real chance.

“I’m not sure what way they will go in terms of personnel. They had a high profile game in midweek as well and Jurgen Klopp has already alluded to the fact they have seven games in 20 odd days. He will rotate his squad and to what extent we will wait and see.

“That might help us or it might hinder us because players who haven’t played too much of late will come in with an opportunity to impress their manager to get more games.

“We are more concerned about continuing to build our season, make sure our levels are high and getting better and to avoid the mistakes at key moments in games that have hurt us of late and stopped us getting the results we feel our performances have deserved.”