Mark Hughes explains why Liverpool are different this season

Date published: Friday 21st September 2018 12:46 - Matthew Briggs

Southampton boss Mark Hughes believes his side can head to Anfield confident of giving Premier League high-flyers Liverpool plenty of cause for concern.

The Reds maintained their perfect start to the new campaign with a midweek 3-2 Champions League win over Paris St Germain.

Southampton, meanwhile, are unbeaten from the last three matches – but were left frustrated after allowing a 2-0 lead to slip at home on Monday night as Brighton fought back to earn a draw with a stoppage-time penalty.

Despite coming up against a Liverpool side firing on all cylinders – and without on-loan Reds striker Danny Ings, who is not eligible for the fixture – Hughes sees plenty of reasons to head north with a positive mindset.

“It is a game that is going to test us clearly because the team we are facing looks on top of their form, with individuals and the collective functioning really well,” the Southampton manager said at a press conference.

“But we will go there with the intentions of causing them problems and maybe taking chances when we are presented with them, because in most games we are creating opportunities, that has not really been a problem for us.

“You would like to think if we can remain in the game and have a good platform, that will enable us to create chances and take chances if they come around.”

Hughes continued: “Liverpool are in outstanding form at the moment and if it was a great performance in Europe.

“It’s going to be a big test for us, we understand that – but we are on a decent run in terms of confidence.

“Yes, Monday night was a disappointment, but it does not affect us confidence-wise.

“If we had been dominated in the game and poor for long periods, which was not the case, we would have been more concerned going up against an in-form Liverpool team.”

Hughes feels the current Liverpool squad under Jurgen Klopp have “travelled a long way down the road” in the club’s quest for a first domestic championship since 1989/90.

Liverpool shelled out some £75million to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January, which was a world-record fee for a defender.

Hughes believes the addition of such a calibre of player to the squad could yet tip the balance as the Reds look to sustain their title challenge.

“What you would imagine as their first XI is very very strong, as strong as any in their league,” the Southampton boss said.

“Now their squad, which will sustain them during the season, looks really strong as well, that could be the difference this year.”


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