A Premier League season-length unbeaten run is the product of Liverpool's determination to 'strive for better', according to Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Reds beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on Saturday evening to continue their remarkable record this season and further stretch their advantage at the summit.
Roberto Firmino’s assured finish before the break was enough to set a new benchmark for excellence in the opening 21 games of a top-flight season, with no team in Europe’s top five leagues ever having reached the 61 points collected by Jürgen Klopp’s side.
“It is [incredible],” Wijnaldum, who was an outstanding performer in the middle of the park against Spurs, told Liverpoolfc.com of their 38-match streak without defeat in the Premier League going back to 2018-19.
104 - @LFC have accrued 104 points across their last 38 Premier League matches (W33 D5 L0); this is a record total… https://t.co/AOqW8HwKqU— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 11th Jan 19:37
“But we also work really hard to keep this run going, we have a manager who keeps both our feet on the ground and to work even harder.
“Every day when we are training or playing a game, we try to do it better than we did before. We always strive to do it better.”
Longest unbeaten runs in English top flight
Arsenal - 49 games (2003-04)
Nottingham Forest - 42 games (1977-78)
Chelsea - 40 games (2004-05)
Liverpool - 38 games (2019-)
The lack of a second goal to show for their dominance for much of the clash with Jose Mourinho’s men meant Liverpool had to hold firm in London for their latest win.
Son Heung-Min and Giovani Lo Celso each had significant chances to snatch a point for the hosts – and Wijnaldum reflected constructively on the details of the contest.
“[It was] really tough [physically] but also because I think we made it really tough for ourselves in the second half,” said the Dutchman.
“I think first half we played a good game but we gave sniffs away and gave them a little bit of confidence. Because it was only 1-0, they had the confidence they could equalise and in the second half you know they will come out and try to equalise. That’s what makes it harder – and also because we didn’t do what we did in the first half.
“I think that was the reason why it was really tough. Normally, it’s always tough when you play against Tottenham but I think we made it tougher than what it was.
“It was only 1-0 so they had the confidence to try to score a goal. We had to do better with the situation. At the end we defended well but in a few bits in the game we gave chances away and we were lucky they didn’t score.”
Firmino’s cool strike was his fifth goal in six appearances in all competitions and marked the latest influential performance from the Brazilian.
‘Super’ was Klopp’s choice of adjective for his No.9, and Wijnaldum offered his own view on why Firmino’s contribution goes beyond the scoresheet.
“Bobby is really important for the team – not only with the goals but also with the way he plays,” said the midfielder. “He works a lot, assists a lot and because of the way he plays, the team can play better. He is important in all parts.”