Ugly victories win titles, as we’ve all told ourselves time and time again, especially after games like this weekend’s 1-0 victory against Huddersfield. Liverpool managed, through sheer luck it seemed, to pull ahead and then maintain that lead for the rest of the game. For Klopp, this change in performances — from scoring as many goals as possible (and hoping that it was one more goal netted than the other side), to trying to defend a single goal lead — is something the team has been working hard to achieve.
“It’s developmental. You have to develop, of course,” Klopp said after the game. “We were 1-0 up and then we defended in a different space.
“Last year our big strength was high pressing and then when there were moments when they didn’t play football, it was like ‘sorry’.
“It’s like a dog — if you don’t give him his favourite toy and you throw something else he thinks: ‘No, I don’t want that, I want the other one, I want to play high press.’
“That’s how you develop, step by step, doing different things. Now we have to be better in the midfield press. Against Huddersfield our midfield press wasn’t our problem. Our problem was only when we had the ball, we could have done better.”
And with only three goals conceded in nine games, it looks like Klopp has hit on a winning developmental path for now.
“It is maybe the first period in my life that we win kind of average matches,” Klopp added. “That’s true. We cannot write a book tonight about how to win trophies. There is only one way: to win football games. For that, there are different ways to do so. To be honest, sometimes I prefer the spectacular way, but I take it today completely and I understand why it was like it was.”