Jürgen Klopp felt Liverpool’s efforts made them deserved winners of Sunday’s top-of-the-table showdown with Manchester City.
Goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane secured a 3-1 result for the Reds at Anfield to move Klopp’s team eight points clear at the Premier League summit.
At his post-match press conference, the manager explained how his side went about the challenge of defeating last season’s champions.
He also revealed his pride after meeting Seán Cox, the Liverpool supporter who watched the victory on his first return to the stadium since sustaining serious injuries from an unprovoked attack before the Champions League tie against AS Roma in April 2018.
Read Klopp’s verdict below…
On his assessment of the game…
Nice one, eh? If you want to win against Manchester City, which is really, really difficult for each team in the world, you cannot play the way they play because they are definitely the best in the way they play. It makes no sense. So we have to try to push through our way. In the beginning, not only because of us, it was wild – pressing and pressing, not a lot of clear balls in behind. It was like everybody tried to come in the game but was always under pressure from the other team. But intense from the first second, you could sense it was really important for both teams. Both teams were ready to put a proper shift in and they did.
We scored two incredible goals, had to suffer in moments because of the way City play, but I would say until the 75th minute or around about, when they scored the goal, we could control it in some way. But after that, you saw immediately our legs got a bit tired and then I don’t know how many balls were rolling through our six-yard box in the far-post area – it doesn’t feel too good. You always think there must be a blue player but, thank God, there was nobody. But that’s exactly what City are doing usually. Of course, in moments you need a little bit of luck. After they scored for 3-1 they had momentum and we had heavy legs. We tried to change it a little bit; we actually changed at half-time to 4-4-1-1, and changed back late in the game to 4-5-1.
I like the game. I love the atmosphere, it was incredible, people just amazing, against an outstandingly strong opponent. Everybody asked me about – and I didn’t see it yet – the penalty situation or handball before Fabinho scores. I can’t say anything about it. What I heard was handball from Bernardo Silva, I don’t know, but I can imagine it’s not a situation Pep is really pleased with. That’s normal. But, still, the reaction we showed in that situation – I heard that 22 seconds later we were in front of their goal and Fabinho with his stunner brings us the 1-0 lead.
The second goal we scored, I don’t think I ever saw a goal like this. Probably not. A right full-back with a 60-yard pass to the left full-back; two more touches and a cross over 40 yards, 50, and a header. That’s pretty special. It was a good moment to score a goal like this. And the third goal very, very good as well, a sensational cross and Sadio in the right position. That was all good, and all around these three goals it was hardest work, and so the boys deserved these three points. Great.
On whether Liverpool consider the possibility of going through the season unbeaten…
Not at all. The 100 per cent truth is we just don’t think about it. The boys go now all over the world to play for their countries and hopefully come back healthy. Two days after they come back we play Crystal Palace – that’s what I’m concerned about, not how many games we won in the past. As you saw today again, it’s hardest work needed to win any football game but a game like this especially. So I’m really happy for tonight, but that’s it.
On whether Liverpool are feeling any pressure at the top of the table…
We don’t feel the pressure, to be 100 per cent honest. Where is the pressure? Look, the things will come up now, we know that, and if you are with us you say, ‘Wow, nine points’. There is a long way to go and lose here a point, lose there a point and stuff like this, what will probably happen. Other people 100 per cent said already from now on Liverpool can only lose it, but that’s a very negative approach. You can see it like this, but we don’t care. I promise you we don’t care. We were today completely focused on this game and not the situation in the table or whatever, how many points we are ahead of City. That’s crazy. Nine points, you cannot imagine that something like this happens, but it is not important because who wants to be first in early November? We want to be first in May and not only in November. We all know that, but we don’t have to say that because it is clear. We just try what we can and in the end we will see what happens. The pressure or whatever is not there yet. Maybe it will come or whatever, but in the moment it is just opportunity and go for it, do the work, throw all in what you have and then let’s see what happens.