Klopp praises Liverpool grit
– Juergen Klopp praised his side’s unerring ability to dig out results when not at their best after Liverpool again scored late to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday and maintain their eightpoint lead at the top of the Premier League.
The leaders were indebted to an 85th-minute Roberto Firmino (above) goal at Selhurst Park after Wilfried Zaha had cancelled out Sadio Mane’s second-half opener.
The victory made it 30 league games unbeaten for Klopp’s side and was further compelling evidence that they are well equipped to end an agonising 30-year wait for the English league title.
“Getting a result at Crystal Palace, I don’t take it for granted,” said Klopp, whose side are eight points clear of Leicester after 13 games.
“We are not out there to show we invented football. We have a job to do to get results. We did that again.
“I have no problem that we were not brilliant today. You just have to make sure you are ready to fight for the result and we were that from the first minute.
“Could we have played better? Yes. But we had players on the pitch that on Thursday morning were still on the plane back from Abu Dhabi or wherever (during the international break). That’s not too cool.”
Liverpool were missing Mohamed Salah, who was on the bench as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury, and lacked their usual fluency going forward in a first half dominated by Palace.
The half-chances were falling to the home side, notably when Jordan Ayew skewed his shot wide before a Joel Ward free-kick was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Gary Cahill.
It appeared that a set-piece had given Palace the lead two minutes before half-time.
A Luka Milivojevic free-kick clipped the head of Georginio Wijnaldum and dropped into the path of James Tomkins to nod home at the far post.
But Klopp’s men had VAR to thank for ruling the goal out after a review ruled that Jordan Ayew had fouled Dejan Lovren in the area.
If Liverpool had been ponderous in the first half, they sprinted into the lead within four minutes of the restart.
Mane swivelled and sent in a shot that had just enough force to skim the hand of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and spin off one post onto the other and cross the line. – AFP