Ralph Hasenhuttl has urged Saints to remain focussed ahead of their run-in despite having what looks on paper a kind run of fixtures with which to secure Premier League safety.

Liverpool was the final top six opposition for Saints this season, while many of their relegation rivals, most notably third from bottom Cardiff, have much tougher games to come.

However, Hasenhuttl is demanding his players don’t take their foot off the gas now having done so much hard work in recent weeks.

He said: “For us it’s important that we showed that we can compete with these teams and we show that we are fighting for everything.

“Now we have no top six teams in the last six rounds but it doesn’t mean it is easier now.

“Every Premier League game is hard to win and very hard to take points.

“I think it is still a difficult and hard run for us but we are looking forward.

“We know we have to work and stay working and I am positive.”

Saints’ preparations for the final salvos of the season have been given a boost by Shane Long’s goal against Liverpool.

The striker was back in the side to replace Danny Ings and netted what has been all too rare a goal in recent times.

“It was not the worst decision to bring him in,” smiled Hasenhuttl.

“Not only because of his goal but he made a good performance working hard for the team.

“It was a pity he didn’t make the second because it was a big chance.

“I think he made a good job and it was a good performance.

“It is not a coincidence that this Liverpool team lost only one game in the Premier League. It’s unbelievable how strong they are but it was an interesting game for us.”

For Hasenhuttl, the game was an intriguing affair, and a chance to meet again with Jurgen Klopp, the manager he has been so often compared to.

“I spoke before the game with Jurgen and he said his team have to build self-confidence in every game and therefore I think the first goal was really a massive impact because then you know you have to score twice. Then it’s not easy,” said Hasenhuttl.

“It was the plan to make it as difficult as possible for them and be very able and flexible and sometimes pressing higher and deeper and find a good balance in the game management and play in spaces where they want to win balls and the team made it in a good way.

“They don’t need a lot of moments to turn the table and finally they did.”

He added: “I congratulated him (Klopp) after the game for his very good team and I think it was an interesting game for everybody in the stadium.

“You come in the stadium and you want to see an underdog that is fighting for everything and the other team that shows what they have in the end.

“I think it was an interesting evening for everybody.”