Liverpool have to maintain the professionalism and desire that ultimately defeated Cardiff City for the duration of the season, explained Xherdan Shaqiri.
The summer signing came off the bench on the hour mark at Anfield on Saturday with the Reds holding a slender lead through Mohamed Salah’s early goal.
Faced with stubborn resistance from the visitors, Jürgen Klopp’s side continued to probe and were ultimately rewarded with a late blitz that saw a Sadio Mane double sandwich Shaqiri’s maiden strike for the club.
After the game, the No.23 admitted the scoreline was flattering to Liverpool but highlighted the characteristics that led to the 4-1 result as crucial to a successful season.
“We had to be brave all game,” Shaqiri told Liverpoolfc.com.
“You saw in the beginning, we scored very early for 1-0 but it was a tough game to play and it was not nice to play against this team; they are a very physical team. We knew they were very strong in [set-pieces] with big players in their team.
“So we had to be brave all game and, in the end, I think the result is a little bit too much for this game but it’s a good sign for the team that we believed until the end and we also tried to score more goals. We fully deserved the win.”
The Switzerland international’s cameo against Cardiff followed his key contributions in the preceding victories over Huddersfield Town and Red Star Belgrade.
Shaqiri joked that he has scored ‘more beautiful goals’ than his touch and strike at the Kop end but was delighted to play a part in Liverpool taking top spot in the Premier League.
“It’s nice to be here,” he said. “We have a very good team and we want to be successful. When we play like this we can be successful.
“Our goal has to be to be successful. We are in a good way but we have to keep going, it’s just the beginning of the season and we have a lot of games to come. We are in a good way.”
Callum Paterson’s consolation for Cardiff denied the Reds a 10th consecutive home clean sheet in the league, ending a run without conceding a goal that stretched back to February.
But Shaqiri does not expect the frustration involved with that blip to dent the dominance of a defensive unit that has thrived throughout 2018-19.
He added: “The defenders will be disappointed that we conceded a goal – but that is football. We cannot play all the time scoring five or six goals and not conceding.
“Every team concedes some goals. But, defensively we are still very good and stay very strong at the back. I’m confident we’re going to keep going like this.”