Jurgen Klopp would not be drawn on criticising Jordan Henderson for a red card that rules him out of the Merseyside derby, but said the Liverpool captain's dismissal was “not so nice”.
Henderson was given his marching orders late on in Liverpool's 3-0 win at Watford on Saturday, a result that kept the Reds within two points of Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino in the last 23 minutes secured victory, but Henderson's dismissal at 2-0 ensured the Reds’ continued good form came at a cost.
Referee Jon Moss had already issued Henderson with a final warning before the England midfielder – making his first league start for a month – barged Etienne Capoue over and was given a second yellow.
Klopp appeared to be ready to replace Henderson with Fabinho before the red card and he conceded that being without the influential 28-year-old for next weekend's game at home to rivals Everton is a blow.
“I think they were both yellow cards, but things like this happen,” Klopp told his post-match press conference.
“You play in a defensive-midfield situation and I don't know how many challenges Hendo had or situations where he had to be closing the player or space.
“Twice, he was there with a hand. He made a tactical foul. With the second one, I didn't like too much because we wanted to change in that situation. Fabinho was ready and then he got it. Things like this happen. It's nothing serious.
“The only not so nice thing is that he cannot play against Everton. That's already accepted, so nothing to say about that.”
Victory at Vicarage Road means Liverpool have collected more points at this stage of a Premier League season than ever before, eclipsing a previous record of 32 points in 2008-09, much to Klopp's delight.
“It's nice. The 33 points are brilliant. Outstanding. The goal difference is really good,” Klopp added.
“At this fantastic big club with their outstanding teams in the past, that this group of players can get this record is nice.
“We all know the season isn't finished, and those records don't bring anything. But if somebody wants to end this record in the future it must beat this team. It's not bad, but we will carry on. For the moment it's really nice.
“We wanted to win and keep the clean sheet as well. I really think this group of players, they deserve it. Today they did a really good job, and I like this game a lot because it was so difficult.
“It was a real mature performance. I'm not sure we had the ball in the past as much as we had here as they have been much more open games.
“In similar games last year, we were not that convincing. It wasn't that clear we controlled the game.
“We controlled it today. They had moments, they had counter-attacks and you cannot avoid that. Controlling it, staying that mood, that's positive, it is new for us.
“It ended 3-0 and I don't think any Liverpool supporter would have wanted another result or another performance. It was exactly how it had to be in our situation. We have to win football games.”
Liverpool next return to European duty when they face Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League crunch clash on Wednesday.