Sometimes in sport you just have to hold your hands up and admit you got beaten by a better team.

It’s not exactly the stuff dreams are made of, but it’s a reality of the Premier League, and one Saints have become accustomed to.

The division really is the top six and then everybody else.

Saints have now not beaten one of the big six in the last 25 attempts, and they were comfortably second best against Liverpool at Anfield.

Whenever the team suffers a loss there are inevitably questions asked of the manager, but in truth Mark Hughes was in a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ situation.

If he went for a 4-4-2 formation again and tried to be positive and got well beaten people would ask why he adopted such tactics against a brilliant attacking side away from home.

If he went defensive and parked the bus and was well beaten people would ask why he wasn’t more positive as there is little chance of containing a brilliant attacking side away from home for a full 90 minutes.

The brutal truth is that there is a gulf in class between Saints and Liverpool.

Had the rumours come true and Saints have signed Xherdan Shaqiri in the summer it would have been widely viewed as a truly superb piece of business and possibly a transformative one for the club.

Liverpool signed him and he had to be happy with 45 minutes against Saints because the Reds also had Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino on the pitch.

That, along with all the talent that has moved from Saints to Liverpool, just about sums it, and the Premier League, up.

Without Danny Ings it is hard to blame Hughes for dropping an extra defensive midfielder into the team in Oriol Romeu and trying to play on the counter attack.

The difficulty for Saints is that they aren’t particularly good at keeping goals out, and so often it’s irritating mistakes that are their undoing.

Of the three first half goals they conceded, two were from set-pieces and the third an own goal, after a set-piece wasn’t dealt with especially convincingly.

Saints ended up in damage limitation mode - the only sensible option - and managed to salvage at least that from the second half.

They now need to just forget this match and focus on the future, because they have a much bigger game on Saturday against Wolves with whom they must compete much better.