Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool could have played “70 or 80 per cent” better in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
A penalty from James Milner on the stroke of half-time and an injury-time strike from Sadio Mane ensured Liverpool maintained their 100 per cent win record after two games in the Premier League.
Liverpool overcame Roy Hodgson’s side in what was a tightly-contested match for long periods, but Klopp says his team could have played better.
He told the Monday Night Football panel post-match: “There are not a lot of teams in the world who can line up (Andros) Townsend, (Wilfried) Zaha, (Christian) Benteke, (Luka) Milivojevic and all these players. They have a lot of very good players.
“They caused us as many problems as possible with these long balls and then if you win the second one, they try to get in behind really quickly in one-on-one situations with Zaha.
“We were there and helped each other to avoid big problems but it was not a brilliant performance from us tonight.
“A lot of players can play 70 per cent or 80 per cent better; it would have helped but we worked really hard and that’s absolutely OK. I’m happy with the performance and very happy with the result.”
Naby Keita played 87 minutes and put in an impressive performance on just his second Premier League appearance, but Klopp believes he has the potential to become an even more well-rounded player.
He added: “He’s very shy and not very extroverted but on the pitch you don’t see it. He needs to settle a little bit. He’s next to Sadio all the time [in training].
“Everybody loves Naby but I don’t know if he loves us because he doesn’t speak a lot. But football-wise you can see the potential is outstanding but we have to give him time.
“Defensively he’s very stable in his challenges. Tactically he can improve, and he must improve, but what else I don’t know.”
“We can play better football,” Klopp told BBC Sport. “It was a really intense first half so it wasn’t easy to make the right decisions. They had their moments. I know we have to play much better but tonight I’m absolutely fine with that.
“In [the closing stages of the game] the fuel is really low and maybe the players need a bit of help from an angry manager – ‘run or I will kill you’ – and they did that with a fantastic counterattack.
Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday, welcoming Brighton & Hove Albion to Anfield for an evening kickoff.