Jurgen Klopp is expecting his Liverpool team to further improve this season despite their 100% record from their opening two fixtures.
In each game – against West Ham United at Anfield and then away at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, the Reds kept clean sheets and have scored six goals, but their manager wants them to get even better, starting against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend.
Klopp told the assembled media at Melwood on Friday: “We have to develop, we have to improve. I'm pretty sure we can. If that was the best football we can play [in the first two matches of the season], that would be pretty poor.
“We need to expect from ourselves that we perform at least at the level we showed so far.”
He was also keen to point out that Liverpool's defensive play so far in the Premier League has been perfect, something which the Reds have come under fire for in the past.
He said: “When we concede goals [people] talk about the defence and the goalkeeper but defending is a team thing. We did well for a long period defending, not just this season.
“We are an offensive orientated team based on good organisation. It’s never that we don’t talk about things but every game 60 or 70% of the talking is about the defensive things we will do. It needs to stay like this. It should get better, that's the truth.”
Alisson and Mane take the lead
Klopp spoke positively about his new signing between the sticks, too. Alisson Becker has been a part of the backline who are yet to concede a goal with him behind them.
About Alisson, he said: “I saw situations where he has been really tested. He settled in from the first second and felt really familiar. He's a very good player – not just a goalkeeper. He gives us a few different opportunities which is good.”
Sadio Mané has also begun the season in the perfect fashion, scoring three times in two games having netted ten times in the league last year.
On Mané, Klopp added: “He is amongst the elite – that is not a compliment, that is a fact. Is there anything on his contract situation? Yes, he has a very long contract. That is also a fact.
“This is his third season here. He constantly improved. We knew we got a good player from Southampton. You sign a player and you hope he can do a few more steps and he did that so far.”
James Milner is another who has started the campaign in brilliant form, although he could make way for Jordan Henderson in the starting eleven on Saturday having looked jaded late on against Crystal Palace.
Klopp said of Milner: “Milly’s age is no issue. He is a naturally skilled boy. Each sport he tries he is good at.
“He has started in different positions, different formations. His desire to improve is exceptional. There are players who can play until 36,37, 38, and because of his physical efforts, I'm pretty sure he is one of them.
“If you’re 32 in any company in the world they tell you ‘wait a few years until you can get a real job’ but in football it sounds like they are close to retirement!"
The Liverpool boss continued: “I don’t think it makes sense to only stick to a team because we won. We have quality in the squad and there are different reasons to change the team.”
Specifically, on Brighton, Klopp was keen to praise Chris Hughton’s team, who beat Manchester United last weekend.
The German complemented his opposite number, stating: “They’re very good, organised and on point. United had chances for a much better result but we are warned.
"We have to be at 100%. There is a lot of positivity around here and I like that but we have to be awake and ready for work.
“We can’t compare the last game of last season with this. Brighton were safe and we had to fight for our lives.
"They are a really good team and I respect what Chris is doing there, not just the Man United game,” Klopp concluded.
Liverpool will look to maintain their winning start to the season at 17:30 at Anfield on Saturday. Not since 2013 have they won their first three matches of the season, when they went on to finish second to Manchester City in the title race.