Daily Echo:

Mauricio Pellegrino says Saints have to be braver if they are to win their Premier League survival battle.

There was a worrying lack of character in the second half at St Mary’s as Saints showed precious little fight to try and get into the game as they trailed Liverpool 2-0.

Having fallen behind to an early goal from Roberto Firmino, Saints rallied and created chances in the first half, only to concede again just before the break.

It was a very different story in the second period where they barely mustered an attack, let alone gave Liverpool any defensive troubles.

Having slipped back into the bottom three before the start of play due to results elsewhere, it was a worrying moment for Pellegrino, who has challenged a squad of players who are still behind him to put it right.

“I think when you feel it is really difficult maybe it is the impression because we have to be more brave in these sort of situations,” said Pellegrino.

“Sometimes you can be losing 3-0 but you have to show another spirit to try to bounce back at least and try until the end.

“Today the biggest defeat was in the way we play in the second half for me.”

The response from the Saints players was all the more surprising given that recent performances have shown signs of improvement, along with some results including beating West Brom last time out.

However, there seemed to be very little belief in the side once they had fallen two goals behind.

“Obviously we are not happy with that but my players are conscious and now every single week three points change everything,” reflected the Saints manager.

“I think we have got the capacity to try to fight.

“Everything is really equalised now and really tight and I think the team that is calm in the concept and the organisation and is focussed on what you do on the job and is brave in character will be the team who gets more points to go up.”