By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Adam Lallana has hailed Liverpool’s strength in depth after a weakened team annihilated Southampton 6-1 on Wednesday night.

A Divock Origi hat-trick and two Daniel Sturridge goals helped to dismantle the Saints and catapult the Merseysiders into the League Cup semi-finals, where they will face Stoke in a two-legged tie.

Jurgen Klopp made five changes from the team that beat Swansea in the Premier League last Sunday, with Christian Benteke, Nathaniel Clyne, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and the injured Philippe Coutinho among those who did not play.

Lallana admitted that he did not expect such an emphatic scoreline after Liverpool had gone a goal down after 39 seconds and were outplayed in the early exchanges at St Mary’s Stadium.

“That would have been difficult to believe,” the England international told Sky Sports afterwards. “We started sloppily and gave them time on the ball out wide, but showed great character.

“Studge showed what he is about – goals – and fair play to Divock as well. Then people coming off the bench and playing well. We have strength in depth if you look at the bench. Jordan coming back, Benteke, Firmino, Milner unused. We are in a good place at the minute.

Daniel Sturridge was publicly criticised by Jurgen Klopp in a press conference for failing to play through the pain barrier

Red hot: Sturridge scored twice on his return to the Liverpool team

“We want to keep the momentum we have gained. It is not a miracle what he [Klopp] has done, he has come in and put his way of playing and ethos into the squad, and you can see game by game the improvement. We know we still have some way to go.”

Sturridge, who started his first match since Klopp took over as manager, turned the game on its head with outstanding strikes midway through the first half.

“That’s what Studge is all about,” Lallana said. “We want him fit, we want him playing, because he can contribute to our season massively.”

Liverpool play Newcastle in the Premier League at St James’ Park on Sunday aiming for a fifth consecutive away win in all competitions.