Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp names one Liverpool star an ‘all-time great’ and urges fans to appreciate him; praises ‘outstanding’ Reds midfielder

Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp gives Liverpool players instructions in Brentford clash

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has labelled Mo Salah an ‘all-time great’ and heaped praise on one of his ‘outstanding’ team-mates following the 1-0 home victory over Brentford.

Salah scored the game’s only goal in just the 13th minute. Fabinho clipped the ball into the box and Virgil van Dijk managed to steer it to the back post, where Salah finished after an initial miss-hit.

Darwin Nunez should have doubled Liverpool’s lead in the 29th minute. Trent Alexander-Arnold picked him out with a brilliant lofted pass, but he completely missed the ball when he really should have beaten Brentford goalkeeper David Raya.

Brentford had the ball in the back of the net shortly before half time, only for Bryan Mbeumo’s excellent goal to be ruled out for offside.

Cody Gakpo joined Nunez in missing a great opportunity after half time. Diogo Jota got to the byline before smashing across goal, but Gakpo could not react in time to finish.

Alexander-Arnold then forced an acrobatic save from Raya with a shot from 25 yards out, while Gakpo sent a volley wide when he really should have scored.

Liverpool held on to win 1-0 and continue their hunt for Champions League qualification.

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In a post-match interview with Sky Sports (via BBC Sport), Klopp said: “That game today was the best defensive set-piece session I ever saw in my life against the best set-piece team I have ever played, [the] most creative.

“We didn’t concede a real chance with 50, 60 set-pieces – that’s how it felt at least. It was because the boys were really focused. Could we have controlled the game better in places? Yes, but it was really tricky because they break the rhythm.

Klopp discusses Alexander-Arnold and Salah

“I saw a lot of positive things. From a focused point of view it was really good because we stayed in these moments really concentrated and front-footed. The boys did really well today so I am really happy.”

When asked about Alexander-Arnold staying in his midfield role next season, Klopp continued: “It depends on the players we bring in. It suits him extremely well. The chance he set up for Darwin [Nunez] was [a] very special ball.

“He is defensively very strong, he still has to adapt to the formation because I think he struggled a bit in the last game. It is not him, he cannot be everywhere. Trent played pretty much all minutes in this really intense period. It’s outstanding what he is doing.”

Attention then turned to goalscorer Salah. Klopp lauded the 30-year-old and went on to call him an ‘all-time great’. “I can’t see him stopping, that’s just his nature,” Klopp said. “You need to have this desire to score goals. People often forget how many goals he also sets up. He is very often involved.

“When he sits in a studio in a few years as a pundit, everybody will know how good he was when we were all watching him. A lot of people don’t appreciate players when they are still playing. For us, it’s clear. He is an all-time great.”

Klopp added: “If Manchester United win their games in hand, then they are seven points away and it is pretty much done [the top-four chase]. We know that.

“Brighton, if they win all their games in hand, which is absolutely possible, they are above us. It’s an interesting period. We have to make sure we keep the teams behind us, behind us because they are coming. Nothing is decided and that’s good.”

100 Anfield goals ‘means a lot to me’ – Mo Salah

During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, match-winner Salah said: “We need to keep winning so that was the main thing for us today. I’m glad that we did. Nothing mattered more than the three points. We just need to keep going.”

When asked about the goal being his 100th at Anfield, Salah added: “It means a lot to me. I feel at home here. I am happy. We just need to finish the season in the best possible way.”

Attention then turned to the Egyptian bagging his 30th strike of the season. On this, Salah continued: “It’s something that makes me proud. I work really hard and everybody knows that, everybody sees that. I am motivated to keep breaking records and winning games.

“We take it game by game [the top-four hunt], we will just see. We don’t want to think further, we will see what will happen.

“We have improved in the last couple of weeks, we have won six in a row, we’ve had a couple of clean sheets which is really important for us. We are more stable at the moment which we need to carry on.”

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