LONDON • Jurgen Klopp suggested he had found a way to win "average matches" for the first time in his managerial career, after Liverpool eked out an unconvincing 1-0 Premier League victory at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah's first-half goal, his 50th in English football's top flight, was enough to defeat their struggling opponents and enabled Liverpool to move joint-level with league leaders Manchester City, and behind only on goal difference.
The Reds laboured through the match, while the Terriers, without a goal in five home league matches and who have yet to win this term, were unlucky not to gain a point.
Jonathan Hogg hit the post for David Wagner's side, while James Milner was fortunate not to have conceded a penalty after handling the ball shortly before half-time.
Substitute Steve Mounie also missed a golden chance in the final moments, but Klopp's men held on.
Klopp has developed a reputation for building spectacular attacking teams, but Liverpool have shown significant improvement at the back this new campaign, having conceded only three goals - their best defensive record after nine games of a league season.
And the manager hailed his players for showing a different, more gritty side to their trademark style of swashbuckling football.
"It's the first period in my life that we win kind of average matches," the German said. "That's true. We cannot write a book tonight about how to win trophies. But there is not one way to win football games. There are different ways.
"There's only one way to win a title, and that's to win football games. But sometimes, I prefer the spectacular way.
"The basis we've created so far is brilliant - 23 points. I don't think I've ever had that after nine games."
His side's ability to earn victories when not at their best is an encouraging sign for Klopp, as Liverpool attempt to win the league title for the first time since 1990.
"We were lucky with the handball maybe, (but) you need luck to have only conceded three goals at this point of a season. It was a good game from Huddersfield and not so good game from us," he added, before conceding more work on the training pitch was needed with Liverpool's final ball lacking in quality.
"So we'll take it (the win). The performance wasn't 100 per cent. I sometimes look frustrated on the touchline even if we are winning.
"It looked as if we could have scored in six or seven situations, but we needed one better pass. We did lots of good things and then, the last pass wasn't good.
"How can I explain that? I need to look back at the game."