Liverpool will feel their victory at St Mary's could be a big one in the context of their season.
Liverpool made it 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League with their 2-0 win over Southampton at St Mary's yesterday to lift them within a point of yesterday's opponents - but also within two points of fourth placed Manchester United, and three points back from Arsenal a position further ahead.
They may have had a degree of help along the way with referee Kevin Friend waving away a couple of strong appeals for a penalty for the home side, but Liverpool managed to get the job done against Ronald Koeman's side to put them in a good position to have a serious assault on qualifying for the Champions League. Not many will have predicted that in November when they were languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League.
It is a big win for Brendan Rodgers's side for many reasons - and here are five reasons why:
The run of league games coming up:
Yesterday's trip to St Mary's was the start of a pivotal run of fixtures for Liverpool when it comes to their hopes of finishing in the top four. Within their next five matches they host both Manchester City and Manchester United at Anfield before travelling to Arsenal at the start of April. If Liverpool can come through that period within at least striking distance of the Champions League places, you'd be a brave person to bet against them completing an incredible turnaround.
It's a big word in football but Liverpool seem to have plenty of it, having only lost the one game since their humbling 3-0 defeat to Manchester United in December which left them 10 points adrift of their great rivals. That one game they lost was in extra time after having much of the play over two legs in the semi-finals of the League Cup against Chelsea. But Liverpool have managed to keep themselves in the FA Cup - reaching the quarter-finals, and got a win in the first leg against Besiktas in the Europa League. Also with both Tottenham and Manchester United dropping points in the race for the top four, Liverpool certainly have the wind in their sails as they moved up to sixth place.
Following on from Europa League competition:
The Europa League is often considered a hinderance to a side's chances of making real progress in the league. It was vital Liverpool's first involvement in the competition was met with a victory soon afterwards. This is a big point ahead of their game with Manchester City next week who they host in an earlier kick off and after a long trip to Turkey. The win at Southampton is big for Liverpool's mentality, and an abject display that resulted in defeat could've been a big blow to confidence for games after participation in Europe.
Still players to return:
During the most recent run of games, it has been the responsibility of Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson controlling the midfield with both Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard absent through injury. With Rodgers taking all three competitions seriously, meaning strong sides being fielded for every game, it's requiring a big effort from the duo, especially with the next couple of games coming up. But with players still return to the side, they're positioned quite nicely.