Results on Saturday went Liverpool's way, giving the Reds a chance to close within three of the top four when they faced off against struggling Newcastle on Sunday. Despite a new manager who had delivered improved results over his first two months in charge, the result in the end was disappointing.
As has often been the case in recent years when Liverpool have been offered a chance to close the gap on sides above them, they stumbled. It's not the end of the world; it doesn't undo all the good that's been done over the past two months. The club and fans, though, can't get ahead of themselves. There's still much work to be done.
"We wanted to come out today and look for the win and take the form from the last games into this game," said fullback Nathaniel Clyne following Sunday's disappointing 2-0 defeat. "But Newcastle played a good game and made it difficult for us and we found it hard to break them down [and] we gave away two sloppy goals.
"It made the loss an even bigger loss for us, knowing what happened on Saturday with the other teams not getting the points they wanted, but this is football. There are still a lot of games to be played and still a lot of points and we'll keep pushing."
Liverpool would be hard pressed to say they deserved anything from a match where Newcastle were for long stretches the better side and where the selection of Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino up front proved a non-functional strike partnership that robbed Liverpool of a focal point in attack.
The two attackers spent the entire afternoon getting in each others' way, and their failure to provide any attacking impetus through the centre made every supporting player look worse. In many ways, it was a return to Liverpool's struggles of last season. Despite that, the Reds should have been level late in the second half.
Liverpool may not have deserved a result on the run of play, but Alberto Moreno's chipped second half finish still should have seen them equalise at a time when Newcastle were only up a goal. It was wrongly ruled off by the linesman, though, and Clyne was understandably upset by the call following the match.
"It would have made it 1-1 and we were pushing," said the right back. "We had the upper hand, and if that goal was given we could have gone on to score another. But that didn't happen and we've just got to focus for the next game. We'll work harder to get the win the next game. It's important that we bounce back quickly."
The team will get a chance to do that on Thursday against Sion in the Europa League, but with advancement to the next round already secured Clyne may be given the night off. A win that helps keep Liverpool's positive momentum after Sunday's stumble will be important, but not as much as keeping legs fresh for the league.
At this point, Liverpool's next league match is the game that matters most, and that's coming next Sunday, when the Reds welcome 13th-place West Brom to Anfield. After recent league defeats to Crystal Palace and Newcastle, a win that keeps Liverpool close to the top four is a necessity.