Jürgen Klopp credited Liverpool’s resilience as they recorded another Premier League victory to maintain their grip at the top of the table, courtesy of a 2-0 success over Watford at Anfield on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah struck a goal in each half to help the Reds overcome the Hornets in a hard-fought tussle on Merseyside.
Under the guidance of newly-appointed manager Nigel Pearson, the visitors carved out several opportunities to get themselves on the scoresheet throughout as Liverpool were made to graft for the points.
Ultimately, two moments of Salah brilliance sealed the outcome and ensured the hosts made it 16 wins from 17 in the top flight so far this term – and Klopp felt his team’s endurance was key in getting the result over the line.
Read on for a summary of his post-match press conference at Anfield…
On whether Liverpool needed to grind out the victory…
Yes, that’s how it is. At 1-0, that’s the result you never can rely on that the game is decided. No problem with that. In December and January especially, you need to show resilience – that’s the most important thing. And we showed that, but Watford showed it as well, so I respect that. We had chances, we scored goals, but they had chances as well which they didn’t score from – and that’s for sure one reason why they are in the situation they are in. Two or three balls they missed. This time maybe now I can speak about, but the wind helped us today from time to time – I am pretty sure Sarr would have at least had a finish in the situation when he didn’t hit the ball without the wind. It made the game tricky for both sides, that’s clear, but it helps them a little bit more than us usually in those situations. Ali was for 85 minutes of the game really doing warm-up exercises, but in these [other] five minutes he was really important and just showed what a goalie he is; he is unbelievable and helped us a lot in these situations. We had to fight, that’s what we did and that’s why we won. All good.
On whether VAR was correct to rule out a Sadio Mane header early in the second half…
I didn’t see it yet. As you can imagine, when you are winning 2-0, I’m not too concerned about it. I had no clue where it was offside, to be honest. I don’t celebrate goals anymore because you have to wait until somebody says it is a goal. I thought there was one pass before where maybe it was offside, but that Sadio was offside I couldn’t see. I didn’t see it back, so no idea.
On whether Liverpool had ‘an off day’…
No, just a difficult game. It was not an off day. I saw a lot of good performances, we scored sensational goals. You have to score from different situations. A few days ago we scored two from set-pieces, this time we scored from two counter-attacks pretty much, which is good in a game where you have a lot of possession. We have to say Nigel [Pearson] did a good job in the week. It was difficult anyway to prepare for the game, as you can imagine. We believe in training and analysis, that’s how we are and it makes life not always easier, but that’s what we do usually – we try to figure out what would help against this opponent. The boys are used to that and when you can give only proposals because you have actually no idea what they are doing, that makes it not easier. Then you play against a team who are really well organised – they were well organised. Yes, we had the ball and we played around, but the problem was that in the moments when they won the ball, it was really difficult in protection. They did that really well; Deulofeu was in good spaces, Sarr was in good spaces, Deeney helped them with the long balls and the deflections and stuff like that. It’s then something you then have to defend with passion and in an ideal world, with organisation as well. That didn’t work out always, but Ali was there. Absolutely this was not an off day, it was just a difficult game and I am completely fine with that.
On the fixture congestion and whether things will get harder for Liverpool…
If we didn’t go to Qatar now, we would play midweek Aston Villa and then West Ham; the only difference is we fly seven-and-a-half hours. But there it’s warmer. I think it’s raining there, that doesn’t help the pitch, the one pitch we’re all now playing on. All the games are now on one pitch and it’s raining there. I’m not sure if the people in Qatar are really used to a lot of rain, we will see how the pitch will be. That’s a bit of a problem, but I was not there so I have no idea. But we don’t have ‘more’ games. I don’t know when we play West Ham – then we get one game more. That’s it. Until then, we try to sort it as good as possible for us. But with the Gini injury today, with Dejan three or four days ago, our squad is not getting bigger and that’s of course not cool. But that would be the same problem if we go to Aston Villa and play the Carabao Cup quarter-final. That’s not the difference. The fixtures are like they are. We have to do what we do and we will do that, and we are quite positive about it. It’s clear we need each point we can get because it’s a tough and long season. You [the media] can make early judgements; we can’t. We just have to recover and play the next game.