Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp reflected on what was another pleasing victory for his side at Anfield on Sunday afternoon as they overcame Nottingham Forest 3-0 in the Premier League.
“I told the boys after the game the best thing you can say after a game like this: that we played really good and there's [still] so much space for improvement,” he told reporters after his side maintained their winning run on Merseyside, having secured every point available to them on home soil so far this season in the league.
He went on to list several positives from the clash: “The goals were fantastic, the patience we showed, the fluidity in a lot of moments on the ball [...] how we connected with each other was really good, the goals we scored, [the] 70 or something percent possession…”
The “most difficult” preparation
That said, it wasn't all plain sailing. Klopp and his staff went into the game knowing that star winger Luis Díaz wouldn’t be able to take part after his parents were reportedly kidnapped in his native Colombia.
“The preparation was the most difficult I ever had in my life. Didn’t expect that, was not prepared for it,” he said. “We tried to help Lucho with the fight we put in because obviously we want to help, we cannot really help, so the only thing we can do is fight for him and that's what the boys did. We just want to support. That's it.”
One show of support came from Diogo Jota, who took Díaz’s spot in the team. Having put the Reds ahead, the Portuguese forward went to the bench and raised a shirt bearing the name of Díaz as a tribute.
“The boys put out the shirt and I was not 100 percent prepared for that, to be honest,” Klopp said. “It was really touching but wonderful as well.”
When asked where specifically he thought his team could improve, Klopp explained that he felt the side needed to be more assured when the game was going in the favour: “The boys showed wonderful signs in all aspects, all aspects really, but that’s something we now have to learn again.”
When “being completely dominant in the game”, it’s important, Klopp said, to “keep the ball moving, stay compact, don't give them any kind of counter-attacks, corner kicks…”
“Creating without losing the compactness” is the key, he explained.
Praise for Mac Allister
Klopp also reserved praise for Alexis Mac Allister, a player who has attracted some criticism for his performances as the holding midfielder in this new box midfield system.
“I think today everyone could see the benefit of a player who comes from the offensive side of the game than from the other side. In a game where you have to create things, where you have to pass, where you have to switch sides,” he said.
“I am really pleased for him and [he had] a lot of defensively top moments, really killed the counter and stuff like this. He was really there. He’s good in these things. That’s why we play him there.”
Up next for the Reds is a visit to Bournemouth on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup round of 16.