Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side passed an important test in coming back to draw 1-1 at Manchester City but stressed there will be bigger challenges to come.
The title rivals could not be separated as City failed to capitalise on a number of chances after Erling Haaland’s record-breaking 50th Premier League goal and Trent Alexander-Arnold scored an 80th-minute equaliser.
“For us I think we passed a test today, I am not sure if it was – the – test,” said Klopp.
“Last year with a team that played long together we got completely under the wheels here (in a 4-1 loss) and had no real chance. Today we had a chance.
“I am not silly, I see the game, and if you ask who was more likely to win the game it was City, obviously, but we had our moments and we won games with lesser chances against City.
“We don’t check if we are as good as City but it is not that I look at our side and say, ‘That’s the finished article’, because I saw a lot of performances I was not overly happy with. It is a super-difficult week (after the international break) so how can you judge that?”
Liverpool were unusually passive in the opening hour and when Haaland brought up his Premier League half-century in only his 48th appearance – 17 games quicker than anyone else – the hosts were in full control.
The visitors improved, though, following the break and – after their opponents missed a number of chances – Alexander-Arnold equalised with a sweetly-struck shot from the edge of the area.
“I didn’t like the body language too much in the first half,” Klopp added. “I know it is part of the circus; preparing the most difficult of the season away at the Etihad with just one session is really a challenge.
“Maybe I am just not good enough, that is absolutely possible, but it is really tricky to do it in 30 minutes on the pitch and 45 in a meeting.
“We needed the first half to understand even more about that and we improved in details, which makes a difference, and scored a goal and brought it over the line and I’m very happy with that.”
Injuries to Diogo Jota and, potentially more significantly, goalkeeper Alisson Becker were of some concern, however.
“I hope it is not that serious but I have not [a] clue what it is. He said he only felt a little bit but we have to wait for the scan,” said Klopp of his Brazil international.
The Liverpool manager also played down a post-match confrontation between Darwin Nunez and City boss Pep Guardiola.
“This situation on the pitch is nothing to do with the historical fierce rivalry, I don’t think Darwin Nunez knows anything about it,” said the German.
“Just emotions. I was not involved – surprisingly – but I love them both so I just tried to calm the situation down without knowing 100 per cent what happened as I didn’t understand a word.
“Pep wants to win, we want to win and then both didn’t win so no-one is really happy and these things can happen.”
“I’m incredibly pleased with the performance because in seven years we know exactly how tough they are and how good they are,” the Spaniard said.
“We played really good because I know against which team we are playing. They are excellent. I admire Jurgen a lot, he knows that. That’s why after many years, we are able still to do it and be hungry.
“How many chances did we create? Seven, eight, nine? We were incredibly good in all departments. It’s a pity but I said to them (the players) we’re not going to win or lose the Premier League today.
“They (Liverpool) are happy, we are a little less happy. I’m really pleased and so proud of my team.”