Graziano Pellè said Southampton were determined to avoid a repeat of their Capital One Cup humiliation to Liverpool, as they stormed from two goals down to beat the Reds 3-2 at St Mary’s.
Saints were fortunate not to have been more than 2-0 behind at half-time, with the visitors dominating the opening 45 minutes and creating a significant number of good chances.
It was an ominous half that sparked bitter memories of the 6-1 thrashing Liverpool dished out at the same ground earlier in the season, in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
However, there was to be no repeat this time, as Ronald Koeman’s side produced a second half that will live long in the memory, with Pellè scoring in between two Sadio Mané strikes to give Saints a crucial win in the battle for Europe.
“We know that the first half was not us and we didn’t want to do again what happened in the cup,” said Pellè. “We came back with the right mentality. The guys were really back with energy and we did an amazing comeback. Everybody did an amazing job.”
Pellè added: “I’m so happy for Sadio, but again the team did an amazing performance. We were strong at the end, believing until the end, and this is the character and spirit to achieve what we want to achieve.”
Saints’ win lifts them up to seventh in the table, three points behind Manchester United and West Ham – the two sides immediately above them – and four back of fourth-placed Manchester City, while they are now three clear of Liverpool.
“We know that we were really close to Liverpool,” said Pellè. “We knew that to go forward we had to win this game. They are our rival in the rankings. It’s an amazing win, but there are still many games to go, and we have to do the same.”