Jürgen Klopp declared Liverpool’s comeback victory against Aston Villa to be ‘massive’.
The Reds moved back level on points with Manchester City, albeit having played one game more, at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Villa Park on Tuesday night.
They trailed inside three minutes to a Douglas Luiz strike but equalised immediately through Joel Matip and then secured all three points in the second half when Sadio Mane guided in a clinical header.
At his post-match press conference, Klopp hailed the ‘quality, mentality and character’ of his team as they continue to chase four trophies this season.
Read a summary of his chat with the media below…
On how big a performance and result it was for Liverpool…
Massive. Outstanding, again an incredible mentality, changed five times, coming here, a well set-up team obviously, in a diamond. We needed time to find into the game and the opponent was there from the beginning, like really aggressive, lot of challenges. Actually the main issues we had were losing balls in for us the wrong areas, from there they could go. Then it’s difficult to get rhythm. On top of that, we were 1-0 down. At least that, we could sort pretty quickly, that was important.
In the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half we really started controlling the game and that was then obviously the way we had to do it. Scored the second – incredible goal, top-class. Winning the ball back, passing it, first pass forward, Luis sensational, a little juggle here and then crossing the ball. Sadio very surprisingly and Sadio made the world of it. And then we had to dig deep, clear. They had moments, of course, they had a big chance with Ingsy, that was obviously a world-class situation from Ali.
Look, if my players would not be as good as they are I would talk about completely different stuff with you. Their quality, mentality and character is the reason why we are where we are. I’m not surprised they are able to do something like this but I don’t take it for granted – I’m really proud tonight of the boys, it was massive.
On how he makes the decisions to rest players…
Impressions, just impressions. I know the boys long – if I would ask them they would all say, ‘I can play’, so I don’t ask. I have to make these decisions by myself. I obviously have nothing else to do but watch football games and football players. That’s with all the things in mind, you think, ‘How could it work today?’ For the boys who come on with not a lot of rhythm it’s not that easy, like Kostas, Curtis. It’s really not easy and I really thought Kostas came through, a lot of pain everywhere, it’s massive. And Curtis, in the moment when we started playing he was really involved, had really good moments. I liked it a lot. We wanted to win the game obviously, we had to win the game, and we thought now it’s time for Thiago, to bring him in the half-spaces. And Thiago was a massive part in the goal, winning the ball back in a really good area. That’s how it happened. My job is about decision-making. Ask me now, I would say leave Fab out but we cannot turn that back. He was completely fine before the game, he had nothing.
On not ‘wasting energy’ worrying about City’s results…
For me, it’s absolutely no problem. I spoke in the press conference and I invited the boys to follow my [thinking]. In my mind, we were six points behind City before the last matchday and then we won and they lost and we were only three points. I came here today with that mindset, it means we are still chasing like mad. Honestly, maybe because I’m a bit dumb, but it works brilliantly for me! And the boys are invited to follow that path.
We don’t waste energy to think, ‘Hopefully they lose’ or whatever. No, we just know we have to win, that didn’t change at all. Now we have to recover, really recover and then to play the FA Cup final because there’s obviously no mercy anywhere. We caused this situation ourselves by qualifying for all finals, which is absolutely massive. And now we play an incredibly big game and from Thursday on we’ll prepare that with the boys.