While Liverpool fans and even manager Jürgen Klopp weren’t thrilled at having to play 120 gruelling minutes on Wednesday with a game against Southampton set for Saturday, Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl isn’t buying into talk of the Reds being tired.
After the match, Klopp said that his Southampton counterpart would have been celebrating when the game went to extra time, but Hasenhuttl today was quick to point to Liverpool’s record following mid-week ties last season as the reason that he he won’t be.
“I heard the message from Jurgen that he thought we’d celebrate,” said Hasenhuttl. “I was happy I have more pictures to show my players, [but] last year Liverpool played 13 times in the week and in the 13 times they played at the weekend they won 11.
“Jurgen puts out a little bit of an excuse for his players fitness but they have such quality it is not a problem for them to come here and make a quality game. We only want to show a reaction and we want to be more difficult to play against than last week.”
Southampton’s last week involved a harsh 3-0 opening day defeat to Burnley, a blow to a Saints team that has targeted a move up the table into mid-table in their first full season under the Austrian manager after last year’s struggles to avoid the drop.
However, while the score was lopsided, possession and passing and shot and expected goal stats all pointed to an evenly played game. Still, unjust scoreline or not, Hasenhuttl knows his side will need to be better to have a chance against Liverpool.
“With these big teams, they get used to [playing twice a week],” he added. “We’re at the beginning of the season and they won’t be tired and we are preparing to face the best possible Liverpool team.”