Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has attributed their record-breaking goalscoring spree to pre-season brain-storming sessions intended to sharpen their attacking edge.
Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby set a new top-flight landmark of scoring two or more goals in 18 consecutive matches in all competitions.
Their 43 Premier League goals from 14 matches is the best in Europe’s top five leagues, edging Bayern Munich’s total by one, and their 25 from seven away from home is the best domestically since Burnley in 1961-62.
Last season’s tally of 68 – a campaign in which they struggled until the final two months – was the lowest return for a full league season of Klopp’s reign but there was not that much wrong with a forward line which can boast Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota.
Nevertheless, Klopp and his coaches analysed what they had been doing and found ways to make improvements.
“We were constantly in a room together in pre-season,” said Klopp. “It was a long camp and we had a lot of time to talk about it.
“It’s clear the influence of Pep (Lijnders, assistant coach) and Vitor (Matos, development coach) is massive because they are brilliant football brains.
“Pete (Krawietz, assistant coach) is constantly thinking too about how we can use the things we have by analysing everything.
“If the players feel the benefit, that’s very helpful, but you can only be offensively creative if you have defensive protection.”
Last season, without the defensive protection of their three senior centre-backs Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip whose campaigns were all over by January, Liverpool struggled with midfielders filling gaps in defence until Klopp eventually put his faith in rookies Nathaniel Phillips, Rhys Williams and loan signing Ozan Kabak.
Of those three only Phillips is currently with the club but as fifth-choice following the summer signing of Ibrahima Konate, there are limited opportunities for him.
There is the likelihood of him leaving in January but Klopp made a surprising comparison when talking about his development.
“People often ask me which player made the biggest improvements under my leadership, and I say Robert Lewandowski,” he added.
“That’s probably right, but not far off that is Nat Phillips, just in a completely different department.
“I remember when I saw Nat Phillips first, I spoke to him after the game and he’s one of the smartest players I ever worked with.
“I told him ‘You know you are not the easiest on the eye, eh?’ but he improved in pretty much everything since, and he’s not playing.
“Life is sometimes not fair and I can’t blame him. We cannot keep him forever, that’s clear.”