Liverpool are mature but ‘not the Harlem Globetrotters’, says Klopp
Jürgen Klopp praised his players for producing their “most mature performance of the season” to return Liverpool to winning ways after back-toback defeats. A loss at Brighton, after being beaten earlier this month by Manchester City and knocked out of the FA Cup on Monday by Wolves, would have raised concerns that Liverpool were feeling jittery as the title race intensified but they prevailed at the Amex Stadium thanks to a second-half penalty by Mohamed Salah.
The win increased their lead at the top of the table to seven points, with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City playing on Sunday and Monday respectively. “If you fall from the horse, you have to get back on it,” said Klopp of his team’s response to their two defeats. “So [the win] is good and important but we didn’t make a big fuss about two defeats.”
Klopp said the most pleasing feature of the victory was his players’ attitude. They did not attack with their customary brio but they never looked flustered and offered little hope to Brighton. “When you speak about maturity, [it is about] how they defended,” he said. “If you see it in their faces, how Bobby [Firmino] is talking to everybody and they’re all defending. The boys worked really hard and deserved the three points, absolutely.
“The headline before the game was: ‘Be ready.’ The headline after the game is: ‘Very mature.’ It was a big challenge for everybody to stay clam and concentrated because each little situation can be a massive threat on the counter or whatever. And don’t make any fouls because Brighton is unbelievably strong on set pieces. That level of concentration is difficult to keep but they did it.
“We are not the Harlem Globetrotters. We have to deliver results and that’s difficult. For that we need to perform. The performance was good, not the best of the season, but from a maturity point of view I would say it was the most mature of the season.”
Brighton’s manager, Chris Hughton, said that he, unlike the home fans, had no grievance with the referee over the penalty awarded to Liverpool – for a clear foul by Pascal Gross on Salah – and said he makes Liverpool favourites to win the title. “At the moment they are in pole position with the points they have to play with and the quality they have,” he said.