The Saints have gone four games without a win, having lost three on the bounce in the Premier League before Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Championship side Norwich in the FA Cup.
Their progression in the EFL Cup has obviously not helped their players after a busy festive schedule but punters looking to use their free bet may well have taken note of Puel’s optimism.
The French tactician believes that the 0-0 draw between the two sides at St Mary’s in November has given him plenty of reasons to be positive going into their semi-final clash.
“We played Liverpool in the Premier League and it was a strong game for us with organisation,” Puel said.
“We played strong and were strong in defence.
“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.
“This game is important and I think my players are ready for the game.”
Saints will definitely be without Jose Fonte as the defender has been left out of the squad after handing in a transfer quest, while Sofiane Boufal is sidelined after pulling out of the African Nations Cup with a knee injury.
Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon claimed referee John Beaton failed to protect his players from 'disgraceful' challenges during a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone.
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has accused Neil McCann of deflection tactics as he denied reporting the Dundee boss to the Scottish Football Association.