Jurgen Klopp is looking up rather than down the Premier League table and feels there is more to come from Christian Benteke after his winner at Sunderland.
Benteke took his tally for the season to seven goals, six of them in the Premier League, when he secured a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light, four days after coming off the bench to do the same against then-leaders Leicester City on Boxing Day.
Benteke passed up a series of other glorious opportunities, including a gilt-edged chance at the death, but Klopp was satisfied with his contribution.
He said: “A striker who scores a decisive goal is always a positive thing, but I’m sure Christian knows he can play better. But at this moment, we need goals more than anything else and he did it again, so we are really satisfied.”
Asked if there is more to come from the 25-year-old, Klopp replied: “Yes. That’s the best news.”
Benteke’s decisive intervention came 22 seconds after half-time with Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone having produced a series of fine saves, including one outstanding effort to deny Roberto Firmino, to keep his side level.
There was a touch of good fortune to the goal as Adam Lallana tried to control Nathaniel Clyne’s pass and succeeded in serving up the ball perfectly for the striker, with Mannone powerless to resist.
Klopp said: “I’m not too much interested in that, to be honest, because it’s better you decide a game early. We don’t live in wonderland and wait for the special moment, we have to work for the special moment and that’s what we did.”
The win moved Liverpool level on 30 points with sixth-placed Manchester United, with Klopp now looking up rather than down the table, though staying realistic about the gap to the league leaders.
He said: “We are celebrating now the whole way from here to the plane, and then we fly home and go to bed and prepare ourselves for West Ham.
“Thirty points feels much better than 27, more than three points better, to be honest. You see how close it is – the best teams in the league have after 19 games six points more than we have or eight or seven, so it’s not that much.
“But it’s a lot.”