Saints lost 3-1 to Premier League leaders Liverpool yesterday after Shane Long gave the home side an early lead.

Here are five things we learned from the game:

1. The scoreline didn’t reflect Saints’ performance:

Daily Echo:

For 80 minutes, Saints were excellent.

They pressed Liverpool when they needed to and remained disciplined when the visitors were trying to force them out of position.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were duly rewarded for their efforts when Long put them ahead with a strike from close range.

2. Naivety allowed Liverpool to take control of the game:

Daily Echo: Mo Salah nets Liverpool's second goal of the gameMo Salah nets Liverpool's second goal of the game

Saints went from taking a corner to picking the ball out of their own net.

Jordan Henderson’s header found Salah, who surged from inside his own half to the edge of the area before curling his effort into the bottom corner.

Ryan Bertrand was left at the back on his own to deal with the Reds’ rapid counter.

And despite trying to force Salah to take the shot with his right foot, the Liverpool winger used his left to place it past Angus Gunn.

3. Shane Long netted his 50th Premier League goal:

Daily Echo: Long puts Saints aheadLong puts Saints ahead

When Hasenhuttl replaced Long in the 61st minute, Saints lost their attacking outlet.

The striker didn’t give the Liverpool defenders a minute’s rest and, along with Nathan Redmond, caused them to make a number of mistakes.

This accumulated in Long striking home from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s flick on to give Saints the upper hand.

He had a great chance to double his tally, but couldn’t connect properly with the ball.

4. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was excellent:

Daily Echo: Hojbjerg passes his way out of troubleHojbjerg passes his way out of trouble

The midfielder is continuing to flourish as Saints’ leader on the pitch.

Hojbjerg was at the heart of everything, whether that was helping out in defence or getting himself further forward to assist Long with the first goal.

It’s easy to forget the Danish international is only 23-years-old due to the maturity he shows on the pitch.

5. Saints remain in pole position to retain their top-flight status:

Daily Echo: Nathan Redmond in action against LiverpoolNathan Redmond in action against Liverpool

Yesterday’s defeat signalled the last time Saints will have to play a top-six team.

Fellow relegation battlers Cardiff and Burnley have a tricky run-in to navigate which leaves the St Mary’s side in the ascendancy to stay up.

The two rivals are in action against together today and before a ball is kicked, Saints have a five-point cushion over the drop zone.