Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted he was not “overly frustrated” after seeing his Premier League champions held to a goalless draw at Newcastle.
The Magpies had goalkeeper Karl Darlow to thank for their point as two slipped from the Reds’ grasp on a night when they created chances, but could not take any of them.
Klopp, who expects defender Joel Matip to be sidelined for around three weeks, said: “Oh no, I’m not happy about the result, but I’m not overly frustrated. It’s football, and if you don’t use your chances then it’s difficult to win a game.
“But you can have a draw with a bad performance or a draw with a good performance, and tonight was a draw with a good performance. We just didn’t use the chances, and that’s why I am OK with the game.”
Three days after being pegged back by lowly West Brom to draw at Anfield, Liverpool found Newcastle, and in particular Darlow, in equally stubborn mood as he produced two stunning saves to repel Roberto Firmino headers.
However, it was Mohamed Salah who perhaps should have won it for the visitors, uncharacteristically missing the target either side of half-time with only the keeper to beat.
Klopp said: “If you keep creating, you will score. I know we will score again, that’s how it is. It’s not a problem in the moment.
“We needed to show a reaction from the second half against West Brom because we lost the plot a little bit there, it looked in that second half like we were 1-0 down and not 1-0 up.
“Tonight was a very good reaction to that, without getting the result. Everybody knows if we win 1-0 then everybody is over the moon, and we should have won the game at least 1-0. But we didn’t, and we have to accept that.”
“But I can work with this performance, I can work with the things we saw tonight.
“We can build on that, we don’t have to change in the next three or four days as if everything is going wrong.”
Liverpool would have gone five points clear of second-placed Manchester United with victory on Tyneside, but headed back to Merseyside knowing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will be level if they beat Aston Villa on New Year’s Day.
For Magpies boss Steve Bruce it was not just the result which was a source of comfort, but the way in which it was garnered courtesy of a performance which was in stark contrast to some of those which have irked the club’s supporters recently.
Bruce said: “Of course we need our goalkeeper to play well and we have to have a little bit of luck along the way, but the effort and the endeavour and the commitment they showed just shows you that it can get you a result.
“I couldn’t be more pleased. There were signs against Manchester City, which I was pleased about, and to go back-to-back against Manchester City and Liverpool in the manner we’ve done, I couldn’t be any more pleased with what we’ve done tonight.”
Darlow’s heroics came as Martin Dubravka returned to the squad after long-term injury, but his wait looks likely to continue.
Bruce said: “I’m in a fortunate position. I’ve got two excellent goalkeepers, one who’s just got back fit who was our player of the year last year.
“Karl has waited patiently for his chance because of the form of Dubravka, but at the moment, he’s the number one because of the performances he’s putting in.”