Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest maintained their momentum in the chase for a top-four spot as manager Jurgen Klopp stressed they have not left it too late to find their best form.
Victory made it four matches unbeaten, with back-to-back victories following two draws, and represents their joint-best run of an inconsistent campaign.
Two goals from Diogo Jota were cancelled out by former Reds defender Neco Williams and Morgan Gibbs-White but Mohamed Salah secured victory with his 182nd goal for the club to move joint-sixth with Robbie Fowler on the club’s all-time goalscorers list.
The result moved Liverpool within six of fourth-placed Newcastle, who play another Champions League-chasing rival Tottenham on Sunday, and brought up Klopp’s 100th league win at Anfield.
“Today I saw a lot of top counter-pressing moments – I loved that – and that’s, for us, super important. And yes, that changed,” he said.
“I think we are much clearer again in that department. It feels, for us at least, that it changed.
“If you are solid and not only solid but really good and aggressive and positive in defending then you can build on that.
“For me, it feels like it’s the first time this season that we have that – late but hopefully not too late and now we have to build on that.
“But the most important thing in football is obviously our results and fighting through this situation and getting three points.
“The boys are not silly – they know that we were not perfect – but they are really happy about that.”
The win was not without some defensive weaknesses, although not as many as struggling Forest showed as the promoted side failed to cope with set-pieces and dropped to second-bottom as a result.
However, Jota’s return to form – it was the second time in six days he scored twice in a game after going a whole year without scoring – lessened the deficiencies at the back and Klopp was grateful to see the forward’s form returning.
“You can really see what goals can do to offensive players, they give confidence,” he added.
“He could have scored another in the first half, already, and being ready you can be involved in each defensive situation and still a threat offensively, you can be both and that makes him for us so valuable.”
Forest have now lost the last five away from home and have taken just three points from the last 30 on offer as their slide back to the Sky Bet Championship continues.
“The result and the stats of conceding three again add to that negative run that we are on,” said manager Steve Cooper.
“If you look at the game in isolation the huge frustration is we have conceded three goals from set-pieces. Really avoidable.
“The first one we could have cleared from the first contact and the second we have not marked properly. That is the real frustration but it was always going to be an incredibly tough game.
“To think we have minimised Liverpool to very few open-play chances tells me we have done some decent things but you can’t get away from the fact we have lost.”