Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted his “hurt” at seeing Saints concede a crucial late goal to Liverpool but took great pride in his team’s performance against the Premier League title chasers.

Shane Long’s early strike set Saints on their way and, despite conceding before half time, they were holding Liverpool at 1-1 until ten minutes to go when they got caught up field attacking a corner and Mo Salah showed no mercy with a swift counter attack and a deadly finish that set his side on course to wrap up a 3-1 victory.

Having played so well for so much of the game against Jurgen Klopp’s table toppers but to have come away empty handed certainly left Hasenhuttl with mixed emotions.

He said: “When you score a goal so early you know it is a long way to go to win against such a team.

“It was maybe a little bit too early or maybe the other thing is you must be more clinical if you have the second chance in the period where they were a little bit struggling.

“If you are two up and defending like we did for 80 minutes then it would be difficult.

“The first goal was a little bit offside so it was not perfect for us but a team with this quality played it well and chipped the ball forward and dangerous in our box.

“To defend everything is nearly impossible.

“It hurts really that we gave the second goal away like we didn’t want to because over 80 minutes they had nearly no ball wins where they could go in a counter attack and the game plan was not to give them the chance to come in the pressing situation and then we make such a mistake in the last ten minutes.

“Against such a team it is not possible and then you get the second and then you go all-in and the third was not important.

“It was a deserved win for Liverpool who tried everything but we showed once again we fight for everything and we made for 80 minutes a very good game against a very good team.”

Saints battled hard but Hasenhuttl admitted it may have been a loss in concertation or fatigue that led to the crucial moment that Salah swung the match in Liverpool’s favour.

“Maybe a combination of everything,” he reflected.

“The second half I didn’t count so many chances for Liverpool.

“They were dominating us very often in our half but again and again we had good counter situations and tried to force them and give them problems.

“There was one situation where Sims was running and then a foul against us and I don’t know if it was the right decision.

“We knew we needed a nearly perfect game against such a team. We had a very good game but it was not enough but I am also proud about my team.”