Liverpool scraped past Huddersfield on Saturday evening, but what do Jürgen Klopp’s post-match comments mean for the Reds’ future?
Liverpool continued to keep pace with the irresistible Manchester City on Saturday, taking all three points from a difficult encounter with Huddersfield courtesy of Mohamed Salah’s first-half goal.
The Reds were nowhere near their best, and it’s not the first time this season they’ve taken three points from a match that they didn’t play particularly well in.
Klopp said before the game that such hard-fought wins are a sign of maturity from his players, and his post-game comments suggest he is happy to keep grinding out results.
“If you are a team that is not easy to beat, it makes it a little bit easier to win. That’s what we try to create,” the boss said.
“People compare us with games we won 6-0; the opponents in the last period there was no opponent involved where we could have won 6-0 – not even a chance to do so.
“It is maybe the first period in my life that we win kind of average matches. That’s true. We cannot write a book tonight about how to win trophies. There is only one way: to win football games.”
Whether or not the electric performances of last season return, Klopp is clearly very proud of his team’s newfound ability to win close games, so how could that change the Reds’ strategy?
Liverpool fans are absolutely desperate for a Philippe Coutinho replacement, as they have lacked a little bit of creativity in the middle third this season. Nabil Fekir was very close to joining during the summer, but the deal fell through on the eve of the World Cup.
However, bringing in a playmaker like Fekir to play in the number ten position could open more space for other teams to attack, potentially undoing the recent defensive improvements. If Klopp is happy to keep using his workhorse midfield to grind out results, there is absolutely no need to pursue a luxury player in January, something loads of fans are desperate for.
While there is no question Alexnader-Arnold adds more on the attacking end than Joe Gomez, the Reds have barely conceded a chance during the 180 minutes they have played with Gomez at right-back.
Dejan Lovren has taken plenty of stick through his career, but his partnership with Virgil van Dijk was improving every week in the second half of last season, and having the pair in between Gomez and Andy Robertson gives the Reds a defence packed with strength, speed and confidence.
Alexander-Arnold’s woeful display against Napoli combined with Klopp’s focus on clean sheets may just tempt the boss to keep the youngster out of the firing line for the time being.