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Winning Ugly is Encouraging but Liverpool Need to Start Playing Better

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It’s hard to fault the results, but Liverpool still need to find their higher gear. Andy Robertson says they can and will.

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Any side that has ever won anything has managed a few ugly results. Victories when they haven’t been at their best. Clutch scores. A few timely calls gone their way. So it’s hard to complain too much about Liverpool’s recent trend towards getting them.

They are, in the end, getting results, which is what matters most at the end of the day. It’s probably not sustainable over the entirety of the season, though. At some point, if they are to have a chance of winning the title, their performances will have to improve.

“We weren’t at our best but these are the games you have to win if you want to challenge,” said Andy Robertson following Saturday’s ugly and, arguably, not entirely deserved 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town. “There’s a bit of relief. We’ll play a lot better.”

After the way Liverpool ended last season, flying in attack and increasingly assured at the back, some of their struggles to start 2018-19 feel a touch unexpected. But the foundation is there, the solid defending is still there—and, for now, the points are there.

It’s also worth remembering that last season, Liverpool also suffered a downturn in form in the autumn, with a six game stretch from September 9th through to October 22nd that saw the Reds win just one game while drawing three times and losing twice.

In season one and two under Klopp, there were downturns that came later, injuries piling up and form dropping in the new year. While many will have hoped for a sustained ten months of high-intensity attacking football, then, that was probably never a possibility.

And if this stretch is to be this side’s lull, its downturn in form, then certainly it’s hard to fault the results they’ve managed during it. But it can’t go on like this indefinitely, earning points on the basis of a sound defence and a little luck—Liverpool have to play better.

“It was a tough game against a very good side,” Robertson added. “It’s important you come to these places and you win the game. Luckily we managed to get our noses in front and we’ve seen it out from there. We can play a lot better, but they made it hard.

“They played very well and they’re probably a wee bit unfortunate to be where they are in the table. I think they will have a positive season. They just need to get up and running and hopefully they will do that, but for us it was about getting three points.”