REUTERS - Liverpool were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday but manager Juergen Klopp said the result was not the end of the world as they push for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Liverpool’s James Milner, who had not missed a penalty in the league since November 2009, had his second-half spot kick saved by Fraser Forster after some mind games from the England international as the mid-table visitors battled for a draw.
“Now we have only one point more, we wanted to have three points more, but it’s not the end of the world,” said Klopp.
“It’s not exactly what we wanted and we are really disappointed about this, as you can imagine, but we will keep on going.”
The draw saw Liverpool’s top-four hopes briefly slip out of their hands but Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal later on Sunday means Klopp’s side again control their destiny.
They are five points ahead of fifth-placed United, who have a game in hand, and seven clear of Arsenal, who have two games in hand, and can clinch a Champions League spot by winning their final two games at West Ham United and home to Middlesbrough.
“We’re still fighting and nobody has given up or something like this. I spoke immediately after the game to the boys - I cannot and don’t want to take away the disappointment, but what I can say is we have one point more than before,” said Klopp.
“Before the game we needed three (wins), and obviously now I would say two would not be bad. It really makes sense that we are really concentrated on West Ham,” Klopp told reporters.
“They (West Ham) are also in a positive season-finishing mood - no pressure any more, they try to get results somehow,” he added recalling how the east London side battled to beat title-chasing visitors Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on Friday.
Asked whether he was frustrated with Liverpool’s recent home form, Klopp criticised the pitch - which he said was too dry for his team’s passing game - but praised the fans for creating a great atmosphere and said his team liked playing at Anfield.
“We still enjoy playing at home - it’s only a mental issue, if you want, when you think it’s one. We don’t see this. The boys like it here and like playing in front of their crowd and that’s all,” he said.
Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Pritha Sarkar