Jurgen Klopp has attributed Liverpool’s slow start against Newcastle to the minimal time they had to train as a group following the international break.
The Reds fell behind in the league for the first time this season when Jetro Willems fired in on eight minutes.
They struggled to really get going for the next 15 minutes, but soon turned up the pressure on Newcastle and found a leveller courtesy of Sadio Mane’s brilliance.
Klopp feels his team needed time to find their rhythm given that the full squad only reconvened on Thursday.
But, as ever, no doubts were allowed to creep in.
“The challenge after international breaks is always to find a common rhythm again,” he said after the match.
“Before we had that obviously, but then the boys played for different countries in different ways.
“Then somebody gives us one-and-a-half days to work on that, that’s not too much and then you need to use the game actually to come in.
“The boys did and that’s good, but we needed longer. It was not 1-0 and now click, we are now here. We needed really longer and that’s OK.
“As long as we don’t concede, then there’s always a chance for us to come back in the game. Of course, it helps that we know that.”
Liverpool looked a different beast when Roberto Firmino was introduced in place of Divock Origi, causing a positional reshuffle.
Typically, the Brazilian was able to bring the best out of his fellow frontmen.
“Of course when Bobby came on in his natural position, Sadio really flexible in that space, Mo really strong today in one-v-one situations against physical strong players,” he explained.
“In the moment when we were more flexible on Sadio and Bobby’s position and when we used Mo more often for balls into his feet and one-twos in and around the box, we were then really in charge of the game.
“That’s obviously important. We won a lot of second balls and there were not so many counter-attacks anymore, so it was then a really good game.”
After a stuttering start on Saturday, Liverpool should now be looking to build momentum with the fixture schedule set to intensify.
We’ll certainly have to be at it for 90 minutes against Napoli in midweek and then against Chelsea on Sunday.