The blessed relief of a last-gasp penalty miss saw Liverpool play out a scoreless draw against the visiting Manchester City at Anfield this evening and finish out the last in a punishing run of fixtures that saw them play seven games in 22 days.
The 12 days leading up to the worldwide break had been highlighted as a key period for Liverpool's season, and it won none of the four matches it played in that run, a frustrating end to Jurgen Klopp's third year as manager at Anfield.
The Dutch defender told Sky Sports: "It was not smart to dive in there - it was a penalty and I said that to the referee afterwards".
"We hope that they come back healthy and play these easy competitions - the Premier League, the Champions League and all this". We want to create but when you make a mistake - if it is an open game at Anfield, you don't even have one per cent of a chance. We got one, which is fine. We did well up until the penalty moment.
City substitute Leroy Sane was sent sprawling by Virgil van Dijk with five minutes remaining and, just when it seemed as though the visitors might snatch victory, Riyad Mahrez sent his penalty sailing way over the crossbar. "I don't know what's going to happen". As former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness observed after the game, all three have their qualities as team players but none of them possess the vision or flair to make a difference in an attacking sense.
"What we are doing is really intense for both teams and both showed respect for the other team".
With Lovren closing in behind him, the Argentina global went down but referee Martin Atkinson waved away penalty claims. Mahrez beckoned him away, as if to say "Trust me", but he must have known that his record from 12 yards did not inspire such confidence.
"It's how penalties often are, very close and a bit of a longer toe and he touches the ball".
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino only had two touches in the City penalty area - and only 21 in total.
"It is not the most important penalty in the history of football because it didn't go in". "Last season we lost here, and this season we drew, maybe next season we will win".
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