Liverpool thoroughly dominated Arsenal for much of Sunday's match. For a time they held more than 80% of the possession. Only managing a draw in the end, then, has to be seen as a disappointing result, albeit one built on the back of an encouraging performance, and it perhaps wasn't surprising Brendan Rodgers sought to focus on the encouraging performance side in its aftermath.
"Some of our play in the first half, the movement and the passing but more important the pressing and intensity, really wound us back to what we have been for a couple of years and what has been missing so far this season," said the manager. "I was particularly pleased with that, even if I'm disappointed with the two goals we conceded when we restricted them to just three shots on target."
That three shots led to two goals reflected individual breakdowns that gave Arsenal a few far more dangerous chances than they were otherwise creating in the run of play. They also made clear that Liverpool has a problem in goal. Brad Jones, since he replaced Simon Mignolet, may have shown superior distribution skills to the Belgian., but as a shot stopper he leaves something to be desired.
With the January window just over a week away, ideally the club will already have a solution lined up. In the meantime, though, it's a problem for a side trying to get their season on track, and it's a problem largely of Brendan Rodgers' making. Yet if Liverpool's goalkeeper crisis stands as a mark against the third-year man, that he seems to have found at least the start of a way forward for the rest of the squad is a positive.
"We had 27 shots on goal," said the manager of his side's improved performance in attack, built on a robust midfield that gave Liverpool the edge there both with and without the ball. "From a creative point of view it looked fantastic. We needed the point at the end because the performance was very good. The character the payers showed in the second half and the quality of their game was outstanding."
With a bit of finishing up front and a little more certainty between the sticks, the Liverpool side on display the last few matches would be one of real promise. Sturridge will, one hopes, provide the former when he returns in a few weeks. At this stage, the latter can likely only be solved in the market. For now, it means Liverpool remain a side that while improved are a long way off where they were a year ago.
"It's one defeat in eight," added the manager, "which shows that we're a side moving in the right direction after a really difficult start. If we play how we have done in the two previous years I've been here, we know we'll get better as the season goes on."