LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Danny Ings of Southampton celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on October 2, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

6 of Southampton's Best Moments in 2018

Honestly, 2018 has not been Southampton's best year. The club came close to suffering relegation last season, and they find themselves involved in another relegation battle as the year comes to a close.

Their poor form saw Mark Hughes relieved of his duties as first-team manager, with the hope that Ralph Hasenhuttl will be able to finally reverse the club's miserable fortunes.

There have not been many positives for Southampton in 2018, but here are six of the side's highlights from the last year.

1. Liverpool Pay £75m for Virgil van Dijk

Yes, in a dream world for the Saints, Virgil van Dijk would never have left the club. However, the team were simply not good enough to keep a player of his quality, and he eventually found himself out of the starting lineup as he sought a move to Liverpool.

Given the situation, Southampton could have been forced to accept a pitiful offer for the unsettled defender. As we so often see, once a player becomes unhappy, he can force an exit to the detriment of the selling club's negotiation. However, this certainly did not happen here.

Liverpool were forced to part with £75m to sign the Dutchman, which was an absurd transfer fee at the time. Defenders simply did not command such a high price tag, and Southampton did exceptionally well to earn such a high figure for his services. They could then use the money to strengthen the squad, although that did not work out perfectly...

2. Mario Lemina's Goal vs West Brom

As the saying goes - good things come to those who wait. Mario Lemina has scored just one goal since joining Southampton, but it was a stunning strike.

Before travelling to face West Bromwich Albion in February, Southampton had failed to win any of their previous 12 matches. They had fallen into the relegation zone, and needed a positive result against fellow strugglers West Brom to help save their season.

After falling behind early in the match, Lemina stepped up. The Gabon international received the ball from outside the area and unleashed a stunning strike which flew past Ben Foster and into the back of the net. The Saints went on to win 3-2 in a match which ultimately proved crucial to their Premier League survival.

3. Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth

Despite struggling all season, Southampton earned the bragging rights in the South Coast derby between Southampton and Bournemouth when the two faced off in April.

Two goals from Dusan Tadic helped the Saints to a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth, but this result was incredibly important for Mark Hughes' side.

Southampton looked to be a certainty for relegation but, with just four games remaining, Southampton earned an unlikely win which carried them out of the relegation zone, and they shocked many as they secured their Premier League status for another year.

4. Danny Ings Joins the Club on Loan

Danny Ings' story is truly an inspirational one. His dream move to Liverpool turned into a nightmare and it seemed as though his career was almost over at the top level, but he moved to Southampton in August in the hopes that he could prove himself in England's top flight once again.

He has since netted seven goals in 13 appearances for the club, and Ings has certainly be one of Southampton's shining lights this season.

The Saints have the option to sign Ings permanently next season, and they will certainly be keen to do so. However, they may need to secure another season of Premier League football before Ings commits to the club. Ings will certainly need to continue his impressive form, and his signing could prove to be crucial for the team.

5. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's Goal vs Brighton

After a mixed start to the season, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg hoped to kick-start Southampton's season when he opened the scoring against Brighton and Hove Albion in superb fashion.

The ball fell to the feet of the Danish midfielder around 30 yards away from the goal, but Hojbjerg did not hesitate and unleashed a stunning strike. He drove the ball with incredible power across Mathew Ryan and into the bottom corner of the Brighton goal.

A late penalty from Glenn Murray spoiled the mood around St Mary's Stadium, but Hojbjerg's goal was certainly a memorable moment.

6. Southampton 3-2 Arsenal

This current season has been nothing short of miserable for Southampton. With the team again struggling around the relegation zone, manager Mark Hughes was dismissed and replaced by Ralph Hasenhuttl, who promised to bring positivity back to the club.

They desperately needed to find some form and momentum, but few truly believed that they would find that against Arsenal, who had not tasted defeat since August. However, the Saints refused to go down without a fight.

Danny Ings and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both netted twice to make the score 2-2, but a late strike from Charlie Austin earned a stunning victory for the Saints. Once again, this victory carried them out of the relegation zone, and Southampton will be desperate to stay clear of the bottom of the table.