Klopp: Liverpool not 'Harlem Globetrotters;' result more important than performance
BRIGHTON, England -- Jurgen Klopp has said Liverpool are "not the Harlem Globetrotters" due to their need to deliver results over entertaining performances at this stage of the season after Saturday's 1-0 win over Brighton.
Mohamed Salah scored his 17th goal of the season from the penalty spot as Liverpool ensured their advantage at the top of the Premier League will be at least four by the end of the weekend.
Liverpool had 71 percent possession against Chris Hughton's side but managed just three shots on target, although Klopp was left more than satisfied with the three points.
"When we started [the season] and we had results, people thought the difference between the City or Rome home game in the Champions League last year was too big," Klopp said at his postmatch news conference. "It's absolutely OK.
"We are not the Harlem Globetrotters, we have to deliver results. It's difficult enough. For that we need to perform. The performance was good. It was not the best performance of the season in a few parts.
"But from a maturity point of view, I would say it was the most mature performance of the season. It's so important. On a good day, everybody can win a football games.
"On an average day, not a lot of football teams can win football games. On a bad day, pretty much only a few teams can win football games. Today was not a bad day, it was a difficult day for us.
"It was just a difficult game because Brighton is doing really well. We played a lot of times against a 4-5-1 system, but how they do it is different. I'm really happy that the boys took the game like it is."
It was Liverpool's first Premier League match since their unbeaten start to the season was ended at Manchester City last week. The positive response at the AMEX Stadium means Liverpool have still not lost back-to-back games in the league under Klopp's management.
"If you fall from the horse, the best thing you can do is go immediately back on it," the Liverpool manager said. "Do you use that saying in English as well?
"That's how it is. It's cool, it's good and important. We didn't make a big fuss about the two defeats, to be honest. We never speak about the games before really.
"We knew that it's really difficult to take all three points here. I'm really happy, even with the way we did it."
Salah won and converted the match-winning penalty after he was upended in the 18-yard box by Pascal Gross in the 48th minute.
"It's a brilliant situation," Klopp said. "In the box it makes sense for a striker to go dribbling in the box because it's difficult for the defender to defend.
"In the moment we speak about maturity and after the 1-0 how they defend, you see in the face how Bobby is talking, that's a massive difference. That's really cool. The boys worked really hard and deserve these three points."
Brighton manager Hughton did not dispute the penalty decision, but did question the performance of referee Kevin Friend.
"I feel for Pascal because Mo Salah is probably the most dangerous player once he gets in those sort of positions," Hughton said. "One-on-one with the pace that he's got. It was difficult for Pascal, but no complaints.
"One thing I always understand is that the referee has a very difficult job and he has to make judgement calls on the whole of a 90 minutes.
"No malice towards the referee, he's trying to do the best job that he can, but I thought that it favoured Liverpool on the balance of the decisions that he made."