Jurgen Klopp assessed Liverpool’s latest failure to win a Premier League game after a 1-1 draw at Newcastle United by saying: ”Football is not fair.”
Liverpool’s German manager found it difficult to accept that the visitors emerged with only a point thanks to a spectacular long-range goal from Philippe Coutinho after enjoying twice as much possession as Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday.
“I thought we were the better side and created more clear chances. I think we should have won,” Klopp said after a draw that leaves Liverpool seven points adrift of front-runners Manchester City and Manchester United.
A victory that would have moved Liverpool into the top four appeared likely after Coutinho put them ahead in the 29th minute, but they paid the price for failing to take other chances.
Klopp remains confident, however, that Liverpool, yet to win the English title in the Premier League era, are equipped to mount a challenge at the top of the table.
“I cannot talk about our football and the gap between us and other teams. We are having our hard moment and other teams will have their hard moment,” he said.
– ‘Real challenge’ –
“I really think it looks like we are not far away from a real challenge,” he added with Liverpool having won the last of their then-record 18 English titles in 1990.
Klopp insisted: “If we do what we are good at then we can score more goals and we will win more games.
“We don’t have to think about other teams and we will close the gap. It’s is all about our situation, we are not thinking about where the others are.
“I’ve played a lot of times with different teams in my life to know when we have a problem — and here we were the better team again and created more chances. We were in very promising situations, but didn’t score.
“I’ve been around football and I know there is going to be one day when it will click and we will score more. Yes, we have one win in seven, but in most of those games we have been the better team.”
“Now the only thing to do is carry on and hope that something happens. We are still confident. It’s our duty to be confident because the players have quality.”
Quality is not always enough, however. There has to be defensive organisation and it was lacking when Joselu scored Newcastle’s 36th-minute equaliser following an excellent through ball from former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
“It was a good pass, but if the defenders see it, they have to step forward and get him offside,” Klopp said. “We made one mistake and it’s 1-1. They (Newcastle) made a lot more mistakes.”
Benitez was pleased by his team’s performance against the club he once guided to a Champions League triumph in a match where millionaire businesswoman Amanda Staveley was among the crowd amid speculation she could be linked with a takeover of the Tyneside club.
“We have got a point at home, which isn’t the best, but against one of the top teams, you will take it,” said Benitez, now well on the way to becoming a fans’ favourite at northeast side Newcastle.
“They have a lot of players with quality, they are dangerous from set pieces and they are dangerous in one v one situations,” the Spaniard added.
“They are a very good team and that is why I’m pleased with the performance of my players. They were really working hard and, if we had shown a little more composure on the ball, maybe we would have scored a second goal.”