Puel: Saints can exploit Liverpool

Southampton manager Claude Puel says his side are ready to face Liverpool in their EFL Cup semi-final first leg clash at St Mary's on Wednesday night.

Southampton held a strong Liverpool line-up to a 0-0 draw in November and are eager to improve on that result when they play on Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of the tie, Puel said: "We played Liverpool in the Premier League and it was a strong game for us with organisation. We played strong and were strong in defence.

"We played at a good level but it will be important for this game to have more of the ball and try and have control of the game.

"Their ability to control the ball along with good pressing, with technical players, is exciting. We want to exploit them.

"The players are ready for the game. It is an exciting challenge for us. The Premier League game was strong, there are many games in January, different possibilities."

The League Cup represents a real opportunity for silverware this season and a break from their recent league woes, having lost their last three games, to Tottenham Hotspur, West Brom and Everton.

Puel added: "The semi-final is important. It is an excellent challenge and we want to try and make the best of the opportunities.

"The competition is important. This competition is an opportunity for us to win something. We have more chance of winning this than the Premier League.

"We need some good work and we want to keep our good possibilities. The second [leg] away is difficult, it is always difficult.

"It is not possible now to think about the final. We want to go out there and compete our best.

"I think that it is good because all the squad can be involved in the competition and we want to get a strong result for our fans and us."