Bitterly disappointed but happy with the performance and targeting a big win over Swansea on Sunday and a strong run through the season's final third. This week, following their FA Cup loss to Arsenal at Emirates, Liverpool's players have all been singing from the same hymn sheet. Now, after all the talk of grasping the positives and moving on, the only question is if they can back up their words with a performance.
"We were bitterly disappointed to be knocked out of the cup and I’m sure the fans travelled home very disappointed," began Joe Allen as the midfielder joined the ranks of Liverpool players stressing the need to turn Sunday's disappointment in the cup into something more positive over the final 12 games of the season. "But our performance level against a good Arsenal team holds us in good stead for the challenges ahead.
"Our league form was very good before the cup game and we’ve got to get back to that. We’ve got 12 big leagues games to go and there is everything still to play for this season. It’s one of those defeats where you can’t really analyse what went wrong from our point of view. We were very unfortunate to get knocked out of the cup like that but now we have to move on from that."
It's rare to see a defeat embraced in so positive a manner, as everyone from the players to the supporters seem to have largely shrugged off Sunday's Arsenal loss as easily as they might a pre-season stumble. Yet the truth is there was very little Liverpool did wrong—and finishing, the one thing that did go wrong, doesn't seem likely to turn into a long term problem given how deadly Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez typically are in front of goal.
"It didn’t quite happen for us in the final third," he added, "but to come to the Emirates and play like that against a very good Arsenal side is a massive positive. I don’t think there are many teams who will go to the Emirates and give them a game like we did. Despite losing, if you play as well as that then nine times out of ten you are going to win football matches. That’s the way it goes sometimes and focus has to turn to the Swansea game now."
Nine times out of ten, Liverpool's performance against Arsenal would gotten a result. Against Swansea at home, it's almost impossible to imagine that kind of performance leading to anything but a Liverpool win. Now the players just need to make sure they put in those kinds of performances the rest of the way. If the Arsenal loss helps to galvanise them to that end, it might even turn out to be more important to Liverpool's season than a win could have been.