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Klopp: I am really proud of how we have played this season

Liverpool reclaimed the lead atop the Premier League table with a 3-1 victory over Southampton at St Mary's stadium on Friday night.

In keeping with what has become a habit of late for the Reds, they kept their fans on the edge of their seats until the final 10 minutes of the match to claim the three points and put the pressure back on Man City albeit having played a game more.

When looking at the table before kickoff, you could be excused for thinking that it would be comfortable trip down to the south coast, but it has often been said that there is no easy games in the Premier League and it was certainly the case on this occasion.

The game was one of landmarks for the visitors.

 

The Saints took a shock lead after nine minutes from striker Shane Long, but that deficit was overturned in the 36th minute when Naby Keita scored his highly awaited first goal for the Reds heading home a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

It stayed that scoreline until deep into the second half with Southampton's time wasting tactics a clear sign they were more than happy with the point.

Liverpool needed a moment of inspiration from one of their superstars and that came when Mo Salah was released by substitute Jordan Henderson to score his 50th goal for the club, becoming the quickest Liverpool player to reach that mark in the Premier League.

It has been well documented that Salah has been stranded on 49 goals for a period of time, but to his credit he has never hidden or dropped his head.

Despite defenders in his presence, it was a glimpse of the Egyptian King at his best as he continued to run at the opposition and fired the ball past Angus Gunn in the Saints goal.

The jubilation and relief was there for all to see as Salah was back on the scoresheet for the first time since the ninth of February against Bournemouth.

Henderson then put the icing on the cake on a fine 30 minute individual performance when he scored his first goal for the season six minutes later converting a superb cross from Roberto Firmino.

Job done it seemed, but as is the modern way, there are always some individuals who are not satisfied and want to see more from the title contenders.

Jurgen Klopp was not having any of that after the game, and stated that he is extremely proud of the team and comparing the Reds with their title rivals is unfair.

Sky Sports reported Klopp as saying:

"The performance was not top level, but it is about fighting.

 

"People want us to play like Manchester City. 

“We are unable to do that. Why should we do it? We play our own football. It's a nice way, and a really good way.

“We have 82 points now. That is massive in this crazy league, with these unbelievably strong opponents, and everyone is waiting for us. I am really proud. It is incredible.

"Winning here is not easy but we did it - really good.

"We had a few performances not on top level but we were always in the game, it's not about that, it's really about fighting. I'm really proud of what the boys did tonight, it's incredible.

"We had our moments in the first half, we were dominant but they scored the goal, a nice goal - not world-class defending I would say but a nice goal and then we stayed calm, worked hard for the moment, not waiting for it, working for it."

 

Jurgen.Klopp1_.jpg
 

Klopp was very happy for his star man Salah and believed he made the right decision to go it alone for his sublime strike.

"Everyone was probably waiting for the pass to Bobby (Firmino) but he couldn't pass, it was not a good angle, so he finished it off and it was world class."

The Reds are next in action on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final clash against Porto at Anfield before playing Chelsea at home next Sunday.


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Refreshing article on how we’ve fared this season, in light of the recent received wisdom that we’ve been lucky. 

 

Lucky Liverpool? The Reds Have Proved They Deserve Their Place

by Clive Tyldesley | Apr 4, 2019 | 6 comments

Lucky Liverpool? The Reds Have Proved They Deserve Their Place
 

cliveident

IF the Premier League insist on inscribing “Lucky Liverpool” on their trophy next month, I don’t suppose it will spoil the title celebrations for any of you.

Champions are rarely popular. They are never lucky.

Liverpool got a little lucky just before 6.30pm at Anfield last Sunday evening. A draw with Tottenham would have been a fair result (whatever the hell a “fair result” is) but sport was never meant to be fair.

This season has seen the launch of a new statistical calculation of “fair results” called Expected Goals. You may have spied it on Match of the Day. Liverpool actually beat Spurs 1.09 to 1.05 on “xG”. They weren’t quite as lucky as has been made out.

So, before the official history of their season starts to chronicle a litany of late goals, dodgy keepers and iffy penalty awards, let’s put the record straight. I think there is a strong argument to say that Sunday was the first time in this entire league campaign that Liverpool have come away from a game with more than they truly deserved.

Expected Goals doesn’t entirely agree, but even in their dystopian world where a panel of mad mathematicians decides the outcome of games based on “the statistical measure of the quality of chances created and conceded”, Liverpool would only be two points worse off than they are in the (equally mad) real world.

If you are making judgments in a Pythagoras universe of formulae and functions then the 11 millimetres by which Liverpool failed to take the lead at the Etihad in January remain the most telling fractions of the title race to date. Lucky is what Vincent Kompany got that night, if you remember.

Every season is littered with moments of controversy and confusion. Luck can be annoyingly fickle in the short term but it does tend to correct itself over time. It’s a matter of fact that Sadio Mane’s disallowed goal at Arsenal in November was onside. Just as his point-earning goal at West Ham in February was offside.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Monday, February 4, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mane scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

 

Mane made an ill-judged challenge on Son Heung-Min late in the 2-1 win at Wembley in September. It should have resulted in a Spurs penalty but Liverpool definitely deserved to win that game.

Naby Keita was denied a clear penalty in the second half of the 1-1 draw with Leicester in January, but then Liverpool didn’t really deserve any more than a point from that match. Justice is rough but it’s ready eventually.

Jordan Pickford and Hugo Lloris will no doubt become part of the folklore of the season if the trophy returns to L4, but titles are won in months not moments.

Opposing goalkeepers have got to be tested before they can be forced into making crucial errors. Liverpool have given themselves a chance of winning every match they’ve played this season.

When they’ve had to settle for a point, it’s been the very least they’ve deserved. Whenever they’ve won a league match, Liverpool have had a strong argument to say they were the better side overall and created more than their opponents.

Some games have been closer than others. The Anfield derby was a tight one but Divock Origi did hit the crossbar a few minutes before his famous winner.

Late goals may have been a statistical feature of Liverpool’s season but, unless my memory is fading, the only decisive late winners they’ve scored have been the two against Everton and now Spurs.

Daniel Sturridge conjured up that richly deserved 89th minute saver at Chelsea, but the rest of their late hits have been mere adornments to games already won. As Rafa would say, “look at the facts”.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 29, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge scores an equalizing goal during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

 

Liverpool need make no apologies for amassing 79 points. They had earned every single one of them until Sunday.

What goes around, comes around. Just last month, Pep Guardiola actually felt moved to say a public “sorry” for two City goals that should have been ruled out on successive weekends in games against Watford and Swansea. Everyone gets lucky at some time.

Have City won more convincingly, more often than Liverpool? Yes, probably. But that much is reflected in the superior goal difference that might yet prove to be worth a critical extra point to them. Fair play if it is.

Last night, they cruised back to the top with another victory of stress-free ease, their anaesthetic possession football forensically reducing Cardiff’s will to resist (in front of a weird number of empty Etihad seats). Liverpool don’t win games that way but that doesn’t mean they deserve their victories any less.

One of the curious contradictions about top-level sport is that it’s the racers who fade in the final straight that are condemned as chokers and bottlers, not the ones who fell by the wayside miles back, the ones who simply weren’t good enough.

Just getting to the last bend on City’s shoulder confirms Liverpool as good enough to be champions in my book. It’s a toss of the coin now, it could go either way. To win anything worth winning in sport, you’ve got to put yourself in a position to lose it all.

What happens from here will require, yes, nerve, balls and courage of convictions, but it will also need a slice or two of good fortune.

When you’ve come this far with your dream still in tact, you damn well deserve every ounce of luck you get.

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