Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool “have to be ready for little steps” as he declared himself pleased with a Premier League goalless draw against Chelsea on Saturday.
Struggling heavyweights Liverpool and Chelsea played out a dismal contest at Anfield to leave themselves nine points off fourth-placed Newcastle United, who had a game coming up later in the day.
Liverpool had 15 shots, but just three were on target, with their expected goals (xG) return of 1.40 lower than that of Chelsea (1.59), who had a Kai Havertz goal ruled out.
The Reds did at least snap a two-game losing run in the Premier League with their first clean sheet in nine, all of which Klopp believes points to a positive day on the whole.
“We had good spells but couldn’t keep it up,” Klopp, who was taking charge of his 1,000th game in management, told BT Sport.
“We have to be ready for little steps, and this is a little step. We didn’t concede against Chelsea, which is good. We didn’t create an awful lot of chances, but we had them.
“We defended more with passion than clear organisation, so in the end I am okay with nil-nil. You have to accept it.”
Liverpool and Chelsea have now played out five successive draws, albeit with the Reds winning two of those games on penalties in last season’s EFL and FA Cup finals.
It is the first time ever the sides have drawn three successive league games.
Klopp’s side now turn focus to an FA Cup fourth-round tie with Brighton and Hove Albion, while they have a Champions League last-16 clash with Real Madrid coming up.
Echoing the thoughts of his manager, utility man James Milner believes Liverpool are showing small signs of improvement.
“When you’re in a tough period and a tough moment in the team, I think it’s important that you stick together and fight for those clean sheets and that’s where it starts,” Milner said.
“It’s not the best football matches that we are playing, but it’s small steps to get where we know we can be.
“We would have liked to win it, it’s pleasing that we had the chances. This is a small step in the right direction, but we have got a long way to go to where we want to be.
“We always want to win our home games, we know the situation we are in at the moment, things are not easy.
“We’ve got to stick together, keep working hard. We kept a clean sheet which was pleasing. We need to get that base. We had chances to win the game.”
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Milner, who lined up at right-back, had the joint-second most touches of any Liverpool player (73) despite playing just 72 minutes. He felt the condition of the playing surface worked against Liverpool.
“It was two teams that aren’t playing their best at the moment. That’s why you have to win that battle, and the pitch didn’t make it as easy to play as we would like,” he said.
“At times we could have made it easier for ourselves by taking an extra touch but also moving for each other.
“We had really good spells in the game as well. There’s things to work on, but a clean sheet is a step in the right direction.”
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