Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has showered compliments on his players for their gritty win over Brighton. Photo: Reuters

Jurgen Klopp lauded his side for being more than a circus act yesterday, claiming their narrow win at Brighton showed a new maturity.

Liverpool got their title assault back on track courtesy of Mo Salah’s penalty and while Klopp admitted the performance had flaws, he was still delighted.

‘It was not the best performance of the season in a few departments but from a maturity point of view, I would say it is the most mature performance in the season,’ he said. ‘We are not Circus Roncalli, we are not the Harlem Globetrotters. We have to deliver results. On a good day, everybody can win football games, on an average day not a lot of teams can win football games, and on bad days only a few can win football games. Today was not a bad day but it was a difficult day for us.

‘It was just a difficult day because we have to say that Brighton is doing really well.’

Salah smashed home his 14th league goal of the season from the spot in the 49th-minute after he was felled by Pascal Gross. The strike was enough to put more daylight between the division’s top two teams, although Pep Guardiola’s City can close the gap back to four points when they face Wolves tomorrow.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton had no complaints about the award of the decisive spot-kick but felt Liverpool received some favourable decisions from referee Kevin Friend.

Friend frustrated the majority of the 30,682 crowd  an Amex Stadium record  by awarding a series of free-kicks to the visitors, particularly late in the game. ‘One thing I always understand is that the referee has a very difficult job and he has to make judgement calls on the whole of the 90 minutes,’ said Hughton.

‘I just thought on the balance of decisions  no malice to the referee, he’s trying to do the best job he can  but I thought that it favoured Liverpool on the balance of decisions he made.

‘As regards the way we played, I thought it was the right tactics on the day against the best team in the country. I’m delighted that we ran them as close as we did.’

Daily Mail