Liverpool players were quick to celebrate another “important” three points after a “patient” performance paved the way for a win over Brighton on Saturday.
Liverpool headed into the clash with Brighton off the back of two straight defeats for the first time this season, leading some outside the club to question if the Reds were set to continue in the same vein on the south coast.
The answer, of course, was no. Jurgen Klopp‘s men, while not at their best, stretched their lead atop of the table having returned to the winners list thanks to a Mohamed Salah penalty early in the second half.
Brighton proved to be a stubborn unit to breakdown, but it offered Liverpool the opportunity to showcase their mental fortitude and ever growing maturity.
And it was an outing which Jordan Henderson always knew was going to be “tough” such was Brighton’s impressive home record this season.
The skipper praised Liverpool’s “patience” and “confidence” when speaking to LFCTV after picking up another valuable three points.
“It was tough, but we expected it to be they’re a good team, especially at home. They defended really well, were organised and tough to breakdown.
“It was a very mature performance and we managed to get the goal and obviously defended well to keep a clean sheet, so overall we’re delighted with the three points, but we can still be better and that’s what we’ll try to do.
“You can lose patience in games like that, but I thought we kept the patience, kept moving the ball and created one or two opportunities which we could’ve maybe scored more but overall it was about [the] performance but also the result, and we got that in the end.
“We’re still a very confident as a group and very together, as you can see, and that plays a big part in confidence going forward and you can see we didn’t lose our confidence today. We kept our nerve, were patient and got the job done.
“The next game is the biggest game of the season, that’s how we look at it, and it’s a tough one again.
“We’ll keep taking it game by game and then come the end of the season lets see where we are.”
For Trent Alexander-Arnold the result was key to restoring the Reds’ “momentum” and proving his side are capable of bouncing back from defeat with immediate effect, where he also addressed the fitness concerns which surfaced after picking up an injury in the warm-up to LFCTV.
“No matter what every game is important for us, but especially this game.
“We knew we needed a win to get the momentum back and show that we are a really top-quality side and that’s what we’ve done, especially as it’s a tough place to come.
“I think everyone in the league would agree that this is one of the toughest places to play, with good fans and a good solid team who are hard to break down. We found it difficult even at Anfield to score goals against them. We got a 1-0 win there and are happy to get the 1-0 win here as well.
“Questions were probably asked about our mentality and how we would bounce back from a [Premier League] defeat because we hadn’t experienced it so far [this season], and I think it was important for us to show everyone that we are a top-quality side and to bounce back and get the win.
“It was just a roll of the ankle. It was a painful one, but I told the manager and the medical staff I would just need a strapping on it and a few painkillers and I’d be good to go.
“It was good from the manager to have the faith in me to still put me out there and all was good.”
The result ensured spirits were high amongst the squad, where Henderson, Roberto Firmino, Andy Robertson and Fabinho all took to Instagram to congratulate one another and celebrate an “important three points”:
For Virgil van Dijk it was a milestone game as the occasion marked his 50th appearance for the club.
The Dutchman has been nothing short of sensational for the Reds since his switch last January, and the defender was “buzzing” over the win and yet another clean sheet – his 24th across all competitions:
James Milner, meanwhile, did not disappoint in again adding a touch of humour to the celebrations, as Xherdan Shaqiri, Gini Wijnaldum and Alisson also took to social media to praise Liverpool’s efforts:
— Alisson Becker (@Alissonbecker) January 12, 2019
The result ensured the Reds continue to set the pace in the Premier League after extending their lead at the summit to seven points, at least temporarily.
It also continued Liverpool’s unbeaten streak against sides placed sixth and below this season, and Crystal Palace are next on the hitlist when they arrive at Anfield on Saturday.