Jurgen Klopp picked out Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane for praise following the 29-year-old’s winner against West Ham at Anfield.
Mane scored the only goal of the game by reacting first to a Trent Alexander-Arnold half volley, finishing past Lukasz Fabianski from close range. It took the Senegal international to 14 goals for the campaign and once again demonstrated his ability to operate at centre-forward.
Mane usually plays on the left flank but Klopp has been using him centrally in recent weeks, with Luis Diaz taking up the mantle out wide. January arrival Diaz also impressed in our Player Ratings, which are available here.
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports (via BBC Sport), Klopp said: “I don’t know if we will remember this game as one of the important ones.
“We know about the different things West Ham are good at. In the first half we denied them these situations but in the second half the game was more open.
“They knew they had to be direct and around the second ball we were not as good, but you have to get over the line and I was pleased with that.
“If you are not well organised you have to defend with passion and that’s what we did.”
Liverpool rode their luck – Jurgen Klopp
Klopp went on to admit his team rode their luck against the Hammers. “We were lucky in these moments but you cannot win the amount of games we have recently without stretching your luck from time to time,” the German said.
“So I am absolutely happy with the result. I know we can do much better but we brought this one over the line against a strong opponent. It’s no coincidence that they are so high in the table and pushing for Europe.”
Klopp then praised AFCON winner Mane: “I saw a lot of top individual performances, Sadio Mane was one of them. He is really difficult to defend against, but in the end we did not make as much of the situations as we could have.”
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On Sunday’s Manchester derby, which could tilt the title race in Liverpool’s favour, Jurgen Klopp added: “Of course we are interested in it. But we have no influence on it.
“We have to win the games we play. Those we do not play in we have no hand in it. Why we don’t think about it or talk about it, we just try to win our games.”
Liverpool defended well, says Robertson
Andy Robertson said after the win: “West Ham played a good game but we defended well. [We] put bodies on the line and got the three points.
“Set pieces have been a threat. It was never going to be easy but once we got the goal it was important to keep the clean sheet. Now we need more. We need to keep going.
“Thery are trying to get into European football so we had to help out our centre-backs. We were brave.”
When asked about making his 200th start for the club, Robertson replied: “Any game you play for this club is special. 200 starts is an amazing thing to do. Hopefully I can now look forward to 201 but one day when I am older I will look back at what an acheivement it is.
“We have a huge game against Inter Milan on Tuesday, but I’m sure the game [Manchester derby] is going to be on in the background.”