Jurgen Klopp wasn’t grasping for positivity after Liverpool escaped Craven Cottage with a 2-1 defeat of Fulham and a place atop the Premier League table.
As a matter of fact, he felt great about his team’s performance in the win even after a colossal misunderstanding between Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker nearly cost the side all three points through an equalizer from ex-Reds forward Ryan Babel.
[ RECAP: Fulham 1-2 Liverpool ]
“It is clear at 1-0 if you don’t kill it off that can happen,” Klopp said. “Babel was there that is how football is. They deserved a goal but we deserved three points. A brilliant afternoon I have to say.”
Klopp said his side was hampered by its midweek Champions League defeat of Bayern Munich, and that he is not worried about them moving forward in pursuit of a Premier League title.
“I am not the most experienced manager and I have similar problems after Champions League games,” Klopp said, later adding, “I am not in any doubt about my players nerves. It is about intensity. We go for perfection but it is rare that you get it. Burnley, Munich, Fulham – you have to adapt. People will say we need to be more convincing, but we are at the start of a development, not the end.”
As for the mishap that had the score line at 1-1, both Milner and Van Dijk weren’t looking for excuses. Milner butchered a clearing attempt that put Van Dijk on the hook, and the Dutch defender’s pass back to Alisson was poor.
At the time, it had more than a hint of Steven Gerrard‘s infamous slip a few years back, one of the players of the season succumbing to misfortune.
At least Milner had a sense of humor about it.
“The gaffer told me to come on and calm it down and the first thing I do is slice it and put Virgil under pressure which wasn’t ideal,” Milner said.
“I am not giving excuses,” Van Dijk said. “I should have handled it better. They scored but so did we and we have three points and move back to the top of the table. … We knew it would be tough. We made it difficult for ourselves. We weren’t calm on the ball. We got the three points though and we can now focus on the national teams.”
Liverpool has a two-point lead on Man City, who has played one fewer match but that match is currently the Manchester Derby.