Ronald Koeman feels Southampton fully deserved their 3-2 win over Liverpool after a stunning comeback, but acknowledged things would have been different had Jurgen Klopp’s men taken their chances in the first half.
Southampton went 2-0 down before the break as goals from Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool command of the contest.
But the introduction of Sadio Mane for the second half proved pivotal in sparking a remarkable fightback.
The Senegal international missed a 49th-minute penalty but pulled a goal back 15 minutes later and then went on to complete the turnaround four minutes from the end of normal time after Graziano Pelle had levelled matters.
“We needed to show the belief and the spirit in coming back into the game and to make it 2-1, because then it would be a really open game. That happened,” Koeman told reporters.
“We showed great spirit. A great second half. The substitutes, Sadio and Victor [Wanyama], had a big impact in the game in the second half.
“It was well deserved, a great game. This is what football is about. I’m proud of the team and the fans. It’s easy to tell everybody because you get the full three points, but even with the 2-2 or the 2-1, how we came back in the game was amazing.
“At 2-0 down against Liverpool, they let us live, the reaction of the players and winning the game makes it special. I’m very proud of the team.
“It was a must win game. We are still fighting for a European place, that is what we want.”