Georginio Wijnaldum says Liverpool’s experience is helping them win games early in the season, even though they haven’t hit top form yet.
Premier League wins over Norwich and Southampton, either side of the UEFA Super Cup victory on penalties over Chelsea, mean Jurgen Klopp’s side welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Saturday with a 100 per cent record to their name.
With the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all working their way back to full fitness after playing in the summer’s international tournaments, Liverpool haven’t been at their fluent best in attack or looked as solid in defence.
But, with the Gunners similarly shining in fits and starts, Wijnaldum thinks that picking up wins regardless of performance is a good sign.
“It is encouraging that we are getting results without being in top form,” he said after the Southampton game.
“It is important, especially at this time of the season, that you collect as many points as possible because basically, you have to improve during the season and that is what are trying to do and what we want to do.
“But it is also important to collect as many as points until you are at your best. It is really important that we have won the game at Southampton.
“But I don’t think you always see a team play well for 90 minutes. We just have to make sure we win games.
“Basically it doesn’t matter how you win games. You just have to learn and use that experience that you have because we won’t play a game 90 minutes counter pressing or everything goes well during a game.
“You have to use your quality and your experience and still try to win the game. That is more important than playing well over the whole 90 minutes because that is really impossible.”
Liverpool fans will point to this quality as proof of their ability to continue competing for silverware. In last season’s Champions League final, for example, they hardly produced a vintage performance but equally didn't look like doing anything other than winning.
For now, at least, the attention is on racking up points to ensure they can challenge Manchester City in the Premier League title race once again. With City controversially dropping points against Tottenham at the weekend, capitalising with a win over Arsenal would be a welcome early boost.
The Gunners have looked promising in parts of their wins over Newcastle and Burnley, with many tipping them to return to the top four this season.
“It is difficult to say who will be up there. We must see how the season goes for them but also us,” Wijnaldum added.
“Everyone says we will finish first or second but we must still show it and perform at the end of the season.
“We have to make sure we deal with the situations and give everything we have. They made some good signings but they were always a good team.”