Jurgen Klopp has heaped praise on his players for not buckling under the immense pressure after Sunday’s goalless draw with leaders Manchester City.
Admittedly, the Reds were handed a reprieve when Riyad Mahrez missed an 85th minute penalty as the home side were able to shut out the Citizens despite their weary legs.
Klopp was under no illusions as to how tough the challenge was and recognised a battling performance from his defence was key to frustrating their rivals.
“It is a very intense, unbelievable challenge to face Manchester City always – I’ve said that before – and as the last game of an intense period, it makes the challenge even bigger, so I am really happy with what the boys did today,” Klopp told Liverpool FC’s website.
“The start in the game was fantastic and I liked it, but if you want to win against City you have to use a few of these half-chances or whatever it is in these moments.
“You cannot defend them 100 per cent over 95 minutes, so they will always have their moments but I thought how we defended was brilliant apart from the penalty and one or two situations where we needed Alisson with a really good save.”
Over the past few weeks, Liverpool FC have faced Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea FC twice, Napoli in Naples and Manchester City.
Whilst results have not been perfect, Klopp can be extremely pleased to still be level at the top of the Premier League, as well as in contention in their Champions League group.
The disappointment of getting knocked out the Carabao Cup by Chelsea FC will have hurt at the time, but Klopp will most likely be glad to have one less thing to worry about as goals are drying up.
The main effect of the arduous fixture list has been a lack of goals which nobody foresaw after 135 goals last time out.
Most notably, is the stunning loss of confidence in last season’s 44 goal man Mohamed Salah, who is currently being outscored by three teammates.
Such was the effortlessness of the Egyptian’s play last season, the entire watching population is almost disturbed by the hesitation upon receiving the ball which has developed in the last month.
Fortunately for Klopp, his defence has stepped up. The signing of centre-back Virgil van Dijk for a reported £75m in January was the first step to reinforcing the back-line, which was followed by the signing of goalkeeper Alisson Becker for £66.8m in the summer.
So far, the results are having a magnificent effect; losing the efficacy of the most potent attacking player in world football has not seen them relinquish top-spot in the league.
If that efficacy were to return in fixtures upcoming against the two bottom sides, Huddersfield and Cardiff, then a spring board to something historic may be found.
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