Jurgen Klopp admitted he was forced to change his game plan during Liverpool's 1-0 Premier League victory over Manchester City.
Georginio Wijnaldum headed the only goal at Anfield, powerfully connecting with Adam Lallana's eighth-minute cross.
The result was a fourth successive win for the second-placed Reds, extending their advantage over third-placed City to four points and leaving them six behind leaders Chelsea.
Despite the success, Klopp felt his side were not at their best and had to change their approach to handle City.
"Games like this are very, very difficult and it's not that we had a clear plan from the first second to stay deep or be deeper than in other games but you have to learn in the game, you have to adapt to the game," he told BT Sport 1.
"We were the whole night not cool enough in possession.
"We lost the ball in the wrong moment. But they couldn't create real chances because we defended really well.
"It was kind of a wild game. It was intense. It's not about having a philosophy, it's about adapting to the quality of the opponent and in this case we needed to defend from a compact formation.
"We don't want to show how good we are; we want the points. We have another three, that's great."
City boss Pep Guardiola felt there was little between the teams and wants his side to quickly move on ahead of Monday's game at home to Burnley.
"It was an equal game," he said. "We started - before the goal - very well with a huge personality in Anfield.
"We have to wake up and, of course, in two days we have another game. We have to focus and work because we cannot think about the big goals (the title). It's game by game, forget about talking about the big things."