Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he did not expect his team to play their best game of the Premier League season immediately after the international break and praised them for rising to the challenge in an uncomfortable game against Watford on Saturday.
Diogo Jota’s first-half header and a late Fabinho penalty gave Klopp’s side a 2-0 victory that moved them to the top of the table before champions Manchester City’s game against Burnley.
“These games can go either way. If you score early on, then just get in a flow, it can go in one direction. But it’s really unlikely that after the international break you see the best game of the season,” Klopp told reporters.
Klopp said former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson had drilled his relegation-threatened Watford side to make life tough for the title contenders at Anfield but the result mattered more than the performance.
“We had to work through this game against a well-organised Watford side,” Klopp said. “Roy’s doing a really incredible job. At 1-0, nothing changed, they were going for counter-attacks. When the players came on, going for counter-attacks.
“It makes it uncomfortable. We had in the first half the one scary moment when Alisson (Becker) had this incredible save but we scored our goal and kept it controlled, which is the most important thing.
“Scoring the second was obviously kind of a relief. Winning the game is all we wanted. The boys delivered and so now we can carry on.”
Liverpool travel to Benfica for the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday night before a blockbuster clash away at City next weekend.