Following his side’s dramatic 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed he was “not surprised at all” by how tough his side found the proceedings at Selhurst Park – and that they had to leave it late once again to secure the three points.
In perhaps the crucial event of the game moments before half-time, VAR disallowed James Tomkins’ opener from a Palace corner, ruling that Jordan Ayew had shoved Dejan Lovren in the build-up.
To rub salt into Palace wounds, Sadio Mané swivelled onto his left side to fire Liverpool ahead just four minutes after the break.
The effervescent Palace winger Wilfried Zaha looked to have earned the home side a share of the spoils, though, with a composed finish eight minutes from time.
However, just three minutes later, Roberto Firmino capitalised on a spot of old-fashioned pin-ball in the Palace penalty area by curling a left-footed effort inside the far post to break Palace hearts.
Mané and Firmino in particular will have breathed a long sigh of relief having each missed a guilt-edged opportunity before belatedly finding the back of the net.
Clearly, though, they weren’t the only ones feeling relieved after a tight victory.
In his post-match press conference, Klopp revealed that, regardless of the manner of the victory, it always “feels good” to earn one at Crystal Palace:
“I’m not surprised at all that it was tough, to be honest.
“You probably saw all my games [against Palace] since I’m in England, they were always similar. We just know it’s a tough place – the atmosphere is good, they don’t give up.
“Getting a result at Crystal Palace is something we never take for granted. It feels good.”
The German did admit, however, that his side could have played better, pointing to the international break as a possible reason they did not:
“We knew at half-time we had to do better.
“The challenge is that they come back from so many different national teams.
“So today I have absolutely no problem that we were not brilliant because in a game like this you just have to make sure that you fight for the right result. We were that from the first minute.
“Could we have played better? Yes, but we had players on the pitch that were on Thursday morning still in a plane back from Abu Dhabi, so that’s not too cool.”
While it was another narrow win for the league leaders, who retain their eight-point gap ahead of second-placed Leicester City, perhaps more of a mitigating factor for their lack of fluency was that they were without Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian forward missed his nation’s matches during the international break because of an ongoing ankle injury and was a doubt heading into Saturday’s league fixture, but he proved himself fit enough to be named among the substitutes, and was seen getting ready to enter the fray moments before Firmino struck the winner.
In bright news for the Reds, Klopp confirmed Salah is “all good,” and that he was indeed moments from bringing his talisman on:
“Mo is all good. He couldn’t train for nine days.
“He was with Egypt, went home, trained 60-70 per cent the day before yesterday, and was first time 100 per cent yesterday.
“We had to make the decision whether to start him or not. We didn’t start him, we were about to bring him on when we scored the winner.
“So we could rest him today. That’s really good. Wednesday he will be back.”
Arsenal and Manchester United set to battle it out for £50m-rated defender Dayot Upamecano
Arsenal and Manchester United are set to battle it out in the upcoming summer transfer window for £50m-rated RB Leipzig...
Manchester United legend Andy Cole believes Marcus Rashford should play more as a winger
Manchester United legend Andy Cole believes Marcus Rashford should play on the wing instead of as a striker in order...
Manchester City banned from European competitions for the next two seasons
Manchester City have been banned by UEFA from European competitions for the next two seasons after being found to have...
Chelsea reach agreement to sign Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech for £36m
Chelsea have reached an agreement to sign Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech for £36m with the player set to join the...
Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho set to leave in July with Chelsea and Manchester United heavily interested
Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho is reportedly set to leave the club at the end of the season with Chelsea...
Liverpool were interested in re-signing Philippe Coutinho before his move to Bayern Munich
Liverpool were interested in re-signing their former player Philippe Coutinho when he was made available by Barcelona last summer. The...
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer impressed with new signing Bruno Fernandes
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed the talent of his new winter signing Bruno Fernandes. The Portugal international...
Manchester United set to lose to Barcelona in pursuit of Argentinian striker Lautaro Martinez
Manchester United are set to miss out on Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez who reportedly prefers a move to Barcelona....
Manchester United set to spend big in the summer according to Ed Woodward
Manchester United executive vice-president Ed Woodward has vowed that the Red Devils will spend big in the summer transfer window....
Manchester City interested in signing £30m rated defender Unai Nunez
Manchester City are looking to add some defensive reinforcements in the summer and are keeping tabs on Athletic Bilbao defender...