Liverpool defeated Sunderland on Wednesday evening, but the match would have been entirely less nerve racking if the team was more clinical, ruthless and effective.
We won 1-0, but Sunderland were poor, and an easier win was there for the taking.
According to Adam Lallana, who laid on the assist for Christian Benteke’s winning goal, this has been a direct instruction from Jurgen Klopp – who’s desperate for his team to show more fight and intent.
“I think we were more resolute,” Lallana said after the game, cited in the Echo.
“The manager has tried to drum it into us that sometimes we need to be a bit dirtier and fight a bit more – play teams at their own game.
“This is a difficult place to come and to get three points we’re delighted.”
The most important thing from the visit to the Stadium of Light was the win, but you could see from Klopp’s animated behaviour on the touchline that he wasn’t entirely satisfied with his team’s showing.
As Lallana reminds us though, it’s never easy to travel to a team fighting relegation and intent on playing long-ball football, so to rack up a consecutive win and a consecutive clean-sheet can only be regarded as positive.
When you watched Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund team at their best they resembled a pack of dogs, hunting the ball as one. The pace of their game was extraordinary and they always outnumbered and outfought the opposition at the breakdown.
It’s great that the manager can see the his new team’s deficiencies, and we’re of course aware that he’s working with an inherited squad as well. But the signs are improving.
Roll on 2016.