Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s victory over Crystal Palace as “hard-fought”, reserving praise for one man with “outstanding potential”.
Liverpool won 3-0 thanks to goals from Sadio Mane – his 100th for the club – Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita. It preserves their unbeaten record so far this season and puts them top of the formative table. There are plenty of games to come but the first few seem to be going to plan.
Even so, this was not an easy game for them. The difference between the two sides was only one goal until the 78th minute before they pulled away.
After midweek exertions in the Champions League against AC Milan, it was a tough game for Liverpool to get through – but they managed it.
In his post-match interviews, Klopp explained why the game was so demanding.
Klopp told Sky Sports: “It is one of the most hard-fought 3-0s ever. We had to give everything.
“Hard but fair challenges. Physicality was immense and we had to be ready.
“The chips in behind our full-back gave us trouble. The longer it went they used that more and more. We had to run.
“Wednesday/Saturday rhythm is really hard. We scored wonderful goals and used our set-pieces. It is massive in games like this. These are the games you have to win, when you are not brilliant.
“We weren’t flying today. We had to grind out a proper performance. I liked it.
“When you look back you have these games when it was really fun. And some when it was important. This is one of those important games.”
Klopp made several changes to his lineup from midweek, including switching his entire back four. As part of that, Ibrahima Konate made his Liverpool debut.
The summer signing lasted the whole game and Klopp liked what he saw.
The manager said: “You can see he is incredibly talented. The potential is outstanding.
“He is used to winning challenges easy. He is young and he played a really good game. Massive. First home game for him.”
One downside for Liverpool was an injury to Thiago, who was originally deployed in a midfield trio with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho for only the second time in their Liverpool careers.
The Spaniard limped off in the second half with what Klopp has confirmed as a calf problem.
“He felt the calf. I don’t know right now but we hope it is not too serious.”
Mane reacts to landmark goal
It was a good afternoon for Mane, who has endured a tricky few months but has been working to get back to his best.
He extended his incredible record against Palace by scoring in a ninth consecutive game against them – with his 100th goal for Liverpool.
The forward said he would be happy to play the same opponents every week, but on a more serious note, knows who their title challengers are that they must keep in mind.
Mane told BBC Sport: “I am lucky to score so many goals against Palace. Most important thing was the three points. Right place, right time. I am lucky. And happy.
“Thank you to all the fans, club and staff. Without them I am nothing.
“I would love to play against Crystal Palace. I am lucky. It would be great to play them every single weekend.
“In my head I am always thinking it is possible. I will keep trying and trying and trying.
“I think people are not wrong saying Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United as well for the title. We will try to be our best and at that level.”