Jurgen Klopp happy to savour narrow win over Brighton despite Liverpool 'losing the plot'

'We have a lot of things to improve but it's clear that still winning on a not perfect day gives you different opportunities'

Andy Kelly
Sunday 26 August 2018 13:18 BST
Liverpool 2018/19 Premier League profile

If any Premier League manager should be capable of celebrating a narrow 1-0 win, it should be the one currently looking down on the rest.

Jurgen Klopp, you see, doesn't often get to enjoy the satisfaction of that tight scoreline with his team so often chalking up three or four.

Last season Liverpool managed just one Premier League 1-0 victory - Crystal Palace in August - and his whole tenure at Anfield has brought just eight.

A second half at Anfield against Brighton on Saturday, where he felt his team "lost the plot", allowed Klopp to savour the type of result so often eked out by a team considered a title contender.

"Yes, I like it a lot but I am really happy after a 4-0 to be honest!" said Klopp after Mohamed Salah's second goal of the season secured a third straight win to start the season.

"My whole life I have found a 1-0 a very pleasing result. In this early part of the season it was clear – we have to come into the season.

"West Ham was really good but then you come into another situation where you have to fight really hard and we did that. At Crystal Palace sometimes it looked like 'Yes' and other times 'Hmmm' but we won it 2-0.

"The first half was really good football for this part of the season, really good with three, four big chances against a deep defending side like Brighton. In the second half we lost the plot.

"The freshness, the intensity, the legs – all these things. We had outstanding counter-pressing situations in the first half. In the second half we had none. We were still around but we didn't win the balls.

"It's not because the boys didn't want it but because they felt the intensity. After winning 4-0 we didn't run around Melwood for the rest of the week with our arms in the air. We will not do it this week. We will prepare for Leicester. We have a lot of things to improve but it's clear that still winning on a not perfect day gives you different opportunities."

The trait of winning when not at your best is one often assigned to those who would covet the Premier League title and it is something Liverpool under Klopp have generally failed to achieve.

Mohamed Salah scored the only goal in Liverpool's 1-0 win
Mohamed Salah scored the only goal in Liverpool's 1-0 win (Getty)

"I've spoken about this a lot – if we are good then we win, if we are average then very often we lost. Usually we win or we draw when we are good and lose most of the time when we are average and that is what we have to change.

"We want to be brilliant all the time but, if that doesn't happen, that doesn't mean we don't go for a result. We fought for this result and so I am really happy."

That result was secured by a superb late save from £65m goalkeeper Alisson, though he had also caused a few nerves to jangle with his famed footwork, chipping the ball past an oncoming Brighton attacker before later stretching to clear a ball when he was pressured.

Was he making Klopp nervous? "It was not for showing off. It was the right decision in that moment. If he shoots there could be a block so he chips the ball and it is all good. It's fine.

"Obviously nobody is really used to that and that's why there was this surprise and then it was all good again. Too often in the second half we put him in a situation where we needed him in a similar situation by playing back passes in the wrong moments, stuff like that, it made no sense.

"I didn't (panic) but of course there was a different heart-rate at that moment."

For the Brazilian goalkeeper himself - yet to concede in three Premier League starts and with predecessor Loris Karius loaned to Besiktas - his skills with his feet are all part of Liverpool's identity.

Alisson's feetwork raised a few heartbeats at Anfield
Alisson's feetwork raised a few heartbeats at Anfield (REUTERS)

He said: "I try my best to help the team in the build-up. If sometimes there is a situation where (I do) the dribbling, I do it carefully.

"It could be too risky, but it's part of the game, we are a team that plays from the back with the ball on the ground. That's part of the team's characteristics.

"Mistakes may happen, but we work hard during the week to do everything correctly during the matches."

The clean sheets, he insists, are down to teamwork rather than his own impact.

"Hopefully I will keep helping the team, it is a teamwork. I have my contribution, but I am not the main responsible for the clean sheets.

"If we do not concede we will be close to winning because our attack is really good."

For Brighton, Chris Hughton was left to rue what might have been, though a 1-0 defeat represented a significant step forward from the four and five shipped to Liverpool last season.

"This is an incredibly difficult place to get something and to play as well as we did. I accept a lot was good defensive play – stopping them – but we had good spells and to finish as well as we did speaks volumes.

“It can go away from you at a place like this. If they get a second it can be very difficult but we picked ourselves up from that and gave us the platform."

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