Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he believes his side’s record against the Premier League’s so-called smaller teams is judged too harshly.
All six of Liverpool’s defeats in the league this season — to Bournemouth, Leicester City, Burnley, Swansea City, Hull City and Crystal Palace — have been against opponents who were in the bottom half of the table at the time.
However, recent wins at Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Watford have left Klopp believing his side’s problems are being overblown considering that they are fourth in the league.
“Is there ever a moment when you are good enough in these games? We have won three of them and still we have the image that we lose all of them,” the Liverpool Echo quoted him as saying.
“I think it needs a little time before we convince people about this. For us it is really not an issue, it is only a different job to do.
“We can talk about: ‘Yeah, you won it but you could have played better’ and all that stuff — but come on, we are always there in between, that is how development works.
“So it’s very important for us that we won against these top teams, it’s very important for us that we won against also these other teams, but you cannot have 69 points at this time of the season [without doing well].
“No team has this image like we have, that we win against them [the top teams] but we lose against them [lesser sides], but we are in the top four.
“Where did the other teams lose their points? Which way is better? Chelsea and Tottenham are first and second, but all the other teams have different or the same issues. Nobody asks them.”
As Liverpool battle with Manchester City and Manchester United for Champions League qualification, Klopp acknowledged that luck could yet play its part, noting that both Manchester clubs had been given questionable penalties last weekend.
“It feels unbelievably satisfying after a game when not everything went well but you still won it,” he said.
“Sometimes you need luck. There were two penalties, that is luck. You can’t plan but it happens — it happens to us. You need luck, but that is how life is.
“Winning close games is really important for our development but winning the other games is also important because that is still the most difficult thing to do, otherwise all the other teams would do it.
“So — so far so good, but now we have to deliver again.”