Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he expected a worse display from his side in their 0-0 Premier League draw with Southampton on Saturday.
The visitors were short of their best at St Mary’s Stadium, with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Nathaniel Clyne all guilty of missing good chances to snatch a victory.
The result keeps Liverpool ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table on goal difference, but they will be overtaken by Chelsea should Antonio Conte’s side beat Middlesbrough on Sunday.
Klopp, however, was content with his players’ application given the difficulty in preparing for a match at the end of an international break.
“Two things are really important when you play football: the result and the performance” he told a media conference. “The result is not perfect, but the performance was much better than we could have expected, when we think about our preparation for the game.
“It was not bad first half, much better second half. It was a really good performance against a side that are difficult to play against. Southampton are one of the best organised teams in the league. I think they adapted their style a little bit to our strength.
“We had enough chances to win the game, particularly in the second half. The reaction in the second half was really good, the body language was better.
“I’m fine with the performance, absolutely. We could have scored, maybe we should have scored, but football is like this.
“Very often in my life I have lost games like this, when you are so much better and have many more chances. But we didn’t because we stayed concentrated, and that’s very important, maybe the most important thing for us.
“Everybody could see this season that on a very good day we are able to score fantastic goals. But today was much more different for many reasons. And even then, to stay in the game is the best news we can get.
“I’m not happy, but I’m fine.”
Klopp also insisted that there was no risk in starting Coutinho, despite the midfielder having returned from Brazil duty with a hamstring complaint.
“Phil had no big problem, as everybody could see today,” Klopp added. “We would not have taken a risk if he had, one hundred per cent not.
“Three things are important to me; what the doctor says, what the scan says and what the player says. And all three gave the thumbs up, so we let him run.”
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