Liverpool face a pivotal few days in their season with captain Jordan Henderson insisting nothing should be read into one bad result.
The Reds’ only win in 2017 has come against Sky Bet League Two side Plymouth in an FA Cup replay and Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at home to struggling Swansea showed a squad apparently struggling to cope with physical and mental fatigue.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have already played six matches in January with another three to come in the form of an EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton, whom they trail 1-0, a tricky FA Cup tie at home to Wolves before the visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea.
With their proud year-long unbeaten home Premier League record having now been ruined by a Swansea side registering the club’s first league win at Anfield, Liverpool’s next three matches – all in front of their own fans – will be a test of their mettle.
“One defeat doesn’t make you a bad team, we’ve still got a lot of confidence in the squad,” said Henderson.
“No-one knows that (what effect losing to Swansea has done to their title aspirations), we’ll find out at the end of the season.
“But it’s how you react after defeats, that’s how you can show character, show your spirit and show how good you are as a team in the game after.
“The next game is very important for us, and we need to react in the right way.
“We still feel very confident as a team, we’ve got brilliant players and we just need to keep going the way we have.
“(We need to) learn because there were a lot of mistakes out there, and make sure the next game we put in a better performance and get a better result.”
Manager Klopp accepts his side are having a tough time of it of late but believes he has seen enough positives in their performances to give him hope that their fortunes can change at any moment.
However, it was only after going behind to two Fernando Llorente goals just after half-time that Liverpool reached anything near the standard the Reds boss demands.
Roberto Firmino scored twice, his second a brilliant chest-trap and half-volley, only for them to throw it away by gifting Gylfi Sigurdsson the winner.
“It was not like we are in this situation and I think everything is going well,” Klopp said.
“We are really fighting in this moment. I don’t look for lucky situations, unlucky situations, but it was obvious we didn’t have much luck (against Swansea).
“We showed again that when we are really on track then we are a strong side and create chances and can score goals.”
Swansea’s victory not only lifted them off the bottom of the table but also out of the relegation zone, although whether they stay there will depend on whether Hull can spring an even bigger shock by beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Manager Paul Clement celebrated his first win since taking over from Bob Bradley earlier this month, having not officially picked the team for the victory over Crystal Palace.
He still has plenty of work to do but, having spent most of his recent career as an assistant coach, he knows he can have an effect where it matters most and believes the players are taking on his ideas.
“I think this kind of performance can give everyone a lift and help with confidence because confidence has been down and the team has been criticised for going down in games and not producing a response,” he said.
“The team showed the character they do have so it was very positive.
“We had such a good training week: players (were) very focused on what we did physically and tactically and they took on board everything and executed it perfectly.”
Asked what was his solution to getting the club out of trouble, Clement added: “Executing the basics well, nothing complicated.
“(It is about) people knowing their jobs and responsibilities.
“The effort for the cause and the team is the most important thing.”