Jurgen Klopp labelled one of his stars “absolutely insane” after his Aston Villa showing, and endorsed Steven Gerrard to succeed him in the Anfield dugout.
Liverpool kept the pressure up on their title rivals when securing a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. The pre-match headlines were dominated by Steven Gerrard’s return to Anfield. However, once the first whistle blew, nothing short of ensuring his return ended in defeat would do for the Reds.
Liverpool were blunted in a rare off-colour first half. But after the break, they began to hit their stride.
Even so, it was left to the mercurial Mohamed Salah to find the breakthrough. The Egyptian first won then converted a penalty in what proved to be the decisive moments of the match.
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Speaking to the BBC after the match, Klopp said: “The first 75 minutes was incredible football. It’s difficult. The opponent defended compact. It looked really good, we played in the spaces we wanted to play but we did not finish the situations which is tricky.
“We came out in the second half and knew we had to keep going – and improve in moments.
“[We] were not calm enough in the last pass. We kept going. We scored with the penalty then the relief was obviously too big and it was an unnecessary open game. Like tooth pain! Nobody needs that. There are areas to improve even when we win football games, which is good.
“I really thought before the game, with Alisson in his shorts and top, that is not a lot for this game today.
“Yes those moments were there, I don’t want Alisson to be busy in a game to be honest. It is something we will talk about and hopefully it does not become a pattern, or whatever.”
Klopp then turned his attention to Salah, hailing the Egyptian as “Absolutely insane.”
“We all think penalty,” he continued. “Everybody wishes in the moment to take the penalty but he finishes it off.
“The whole game was not the easiest but the triangles we had on the right and left wing was really outstanding. In the end we did not have enough bodies in the box in the first…