Jurgen Klopp names Liverpool player who did 'exceptionally well' in Liverpool victory over Burnley
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Jurgen Klopp saluted the character that depleted Liverpool showed to move back to the Premier League summit following a 3-1 victory over Burnley.
The Reds earned a 3-1 win in front of a record league crowd at Anfield. The home side went into the encounter against the backdrop of a defeat by Arsenal last time out, while Manchester City had moved to the top of the table after beating Everton earlier in the day.
What's more, Liverpool were hit by injury, illness and suspension, with key players Alisson Becker, Ibrahima Konate, Dominik Szoboszlai and Mo Salah all absent.
And despite Burnley being marooned in the relegation zone, Liverpool were made to work to earn all three points. Diogo Jota opened the scoring for the Reds in the 31st minute but the Clarets equalised through Dara O'Shea on the stroke of half-time.
But the Reds restored their advantage through Luis Diaz and after Burnley spurned a couple of chances, Darwin Nunez settled matters with 10 minutes remaining.
On the win, Liverpool manager Klopp said: "No problem with fighting hard for the result. Actually, I can’t remember the last time when that wasn’t the case. But today obviously, for some obvious and for some less obvious reasons, it was clear it will be a really tricky afternoon. It was about how we deal with it, how much character we can show, and the boys showed exactly what we needed. [At] the start of the game, we were a bit too much in a rush. That was the problem: we played too quick, too direct, we couldn’t react with the formation, couldn’t win balls back. They had counter-attacks and that looks not great and doesn’t feel great on top of that.
"We score our goal, wonderful, find our way in the game, and then we concede the equaliser in the last second, pretty much, before half-time. But 1-1 is not a problem, I wanted us to play better football and to play calmer football and thankfully we had two situations to show them – one with a diagonal ball which we saw from Virg [van Dijk] to Trent [Alexander-Arnold] when the winger went inside and then playing around, having the right players in the right positions, and we did that."
Liverpool were hit with a setback at half-time when Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced off after suffering a recurrence of a knee injury. With Konate, Joe Gomez, Conor Bradley and Joel Matip all absent, it meant that centre-midfielder Curtis Jones had to operate as a makeshift right-back. Klopp felt that Jones did 'exceptionally well'.
He added: "It was then obviously the problem in half-time that we had to take Trent off. That’s a double problem, if you want: one is Trent off and the other is we don’t have a right-back available so we told Curtis what he had to do. We changed the formation slightly to make it as simple as possible for him because it’s the first time he ever played the position and we don’t want him to be the inverted right-back and think about these kind of things as well, so he did exceptionally well.
"Harvey came on, did really well, all the other boys did really well [and] we scored this wonderful 2-1 in the right moment. That helped, obviously, for us to give the game the right direction. They still had their moments because of the quality they have. I think it’s a pretty strange situation Burnley is in, they play much better than… they cause everybody problems. It’s not just us, they cause everybody problems. That’s quite special with the amount of points that they have, that they always come in the next game with such a positive mentality – really, I admire that a lot.
"Then we scored a third one and we could have scored more, so it’s all good. It was a really good game, a really good result, besides the Trent situation perfect. We lost this morning Ali with, I don’t know, we lost Joey with the flu, Ali we will see, and before the game Ryan felt a little bit somewhere. They told me then he is fine but you cannot bring on a player who felt something in the warm-up, so we have to recover quickly and hopefully a lot of the boys will be back for the next game because we need them, obviously."