Liverpool's performances have looked improved under Jürgen Klopp. The early pressing is a step in the right direction, and more chances are being created—even if far too many of them are being wasted. There are signs of improvement and reasons for hope.
Yet the club and fans still find themselves stuck about where they were before he arrived, grinding out middling results. What's worse according to the manager is that there is a lack of belief in themselves when things do go wrong that they can turn things around and get a better result.
"With many of the things I saw tonight I'm fine," said the Liverpool manager following Sunday's 1-1 draw with Southampton. "We played football against them. They tried to press high and we were brave enough to play football. We had our moments that you need in a close game.
"Then we score the goal and you want to win then of course, but there is the free kick. Of course everybody knows you should avoid this against Southampton with their strength in the air, and we lose out to them three times one-on-one in the air, bad luck, and then it's a draw."
It's maybe a bit of bad luck, but for Liverpool fans, losing out to Southampton on three headers in a row leading to their equaliser feels rather like the sort of thing that always happens to this set of players. And it's a feeling, that belief, that it appears the players may share to their own detriment.
More than anything, getting a side that has struggled for more than a year and has come to believe they are underdogs—that they're not equipped to win on their own and need a Luis Suarez or Steven Gerrard or even Daniel Sturridge to bail them out—may turn out to be Klopp's biggest challenge.
"There are still ten minutes to go," added Klopp, hinting at what he sees as a bigger problem than even the goal. "I think we could see tonight, and have to learn from it, that we did not give up physically but we didn't believe any longer that we could turn the game around, switch this result.
"That's a problem. That's why we are not calm enough in the moments we have chances—the last pass and so on. I don't understand this pressure in these moments, but the guys feel it. You can see this. They work so hard, so full of concentration and passion, then one goal and it's the end of the world.
"It's not. It's just a goal. You can come back always, and we have to understand this. I'm not sure the pressure is really there but they feel it."