Jurgen Klopp heaped praise on Sadio Mane and provided an update on the fitness of Fabinho after Liverpool’s 2-1 away victory over Aston Villa.
The Reds went behind just three minutes in when Douglas Luiz pounced on a couple of defensive errors to open the scoring for Villa. But Liverpool hit back three minutes later when Joel Matip tapped home after some good work from Virgil van Dijk.
The winner came in the 65th minute when Sadio Mane brilliantly cushioned a Luis Diaz cross into the Villa net with his head.
The home side had chances but were unable to equalise, meaning Liverpool picked up their 26th league win of the campaign so far – our Player Ratings are available here. They are now level on points with Manchester City, although Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand and play tomorrow.
During a post-match interview with BBC Sport, Klopp said: “I don’t think it is possible to win easy. They are a high-quality side. All the things they did put us under pressure.
“We have our situation and if you want to win an away game you have to open up spaces. They did really well and we needed time to get in the game and before we got in the game it was 1-1.
“I could not be more proud. It was a massive performance in the middle of May.”
Fabinho went off in the first half after pulling up with an apparent hamstring injury. When asked if the midfield enforcer will be fit for this weekend’s FA Cup final, Klopp replied: “I think he will, but I do not know. We have to have a further assessment.”
On Mane’s winning goal, the German added: “The whole situation was class. It was top class. Luis crossing in a moment when nobody expected it apart from Sadio.
“We did not have time to train and work on it and I am happy in this moment he pretended to shoot and crossed. It is difficult for the goalie and all of a sudden he puts his head there and it is nice and soft but it was a goal.”
Jordan Henderson lauds ‘incredible’ team-mates
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, skipper Jordan Henderson said: “The boys have been incredible for a long period of time and tonight was no different.
“We knew it would be a tough game coming here against a good team and we knew there would be tough moments. It is about digging in, keeping going and finding a way to win and the boys were incredible again tonight and we got the three points.
“It was a bit frantic and as the game went on I felt we did that [got more control], scored a couple of goals and overall it was a good performance.
“Sadio Mane’s performances have always been incredible. The amount of work he does for the team off the ball, defending at the end and but he has the quality in and around the box. It was an incredible finish and he gets us the three points.
“It was always going to be tough and we have to l keep going. We’re in the same position as we were before the game. It was a big game and another three points.
“We concentrate on what we need to do. It is another big game at the weekend, the FA Cup final and we have to recover for that. It is out of our control [the Premier League title], we do not need to waste energy on that.”