Jurgen Klopp says he did not feel under pressure pitting his wits against Steven Gerrard but likened the way Liverpool made hard work of beating Aston Villa to “tooth pain”.
Reds legend Gerrard suffered a 1-0 defeat on his return to Anfield as Villa manager, Mohamed Salah scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after Tyrone Mings brought him down midway through the second half.
Liverpool dominated the game and Villa failed to register a shot on target, but they might have had a late penalty of their own for a challenge from Alisson on former Reds striker Danny Ings.
That is seven wins in a row in all competitions for the second-placed Merseyside club, who are a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Gerrard was given a great reception by the fans who adored him during his outstanding career, but Liverpool manager Klopp has no problem with the club legend constantly being talked up as his successor.
He told Match of the Day: “The good thing is I have no problem with this sort of thing. I will not be here forever, so I would love it to be Stevie! But no I did not feel under pressure today.”
14 – Mohamed Salah has now either scored or assisted a goal in 14 consecutive Premier League appearances, just one off Jamie Vardy’s record of 15 between August and December 2015. Remarkable. pic.twitter.com/r3Q1TBeU8r
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
Klopp did have an issue with seeing his side have a few nervy moments with such a slender lead as Villa showed more ambition late on after spending the majority of the game camped in their own half.
He said: “The first 75 minutes was incredible football. It’s difficult. The opponent defended compact. It looked really good, we played in the spaces we wanted to play, but we did not finish the situations, which is tricky.
“We came out in the second half and knew we had to keep going – and improve in moments. We were not calm enough in the last pass. We kept going.
“We scored with the penalty, then the relief was obviously too big and it was an unnecessary open game. Like tooth pain, nobody needs that. There are areas to improve even when we win football games, which is good.”
Salah has either scored or assisted a goal in 14 consecutive Premier League appearances, just one off Jamie Vardy’s record of 15 between August and December 2015.
The Egypt forward’s goal was his 21st of the season, and he has converted his past 15 penalties in the Premier League, with only Matt Le Tissier (23) scoring more in a row in the competition between January 1994 and April 2000.