Jurgen Klopp hailed Fabinho for keeping Timo Werner quiet in Liverpool’s win over Chelsea, while also reacting to Thiago Alcantara’s debut.
Sadio Mane scored a brace in the second half after Chelsea had been reduced to 10 men before the break when the Senegal international was hauled down by Andreas Christensen.
Alisson Becker saved a penalty from Jorginho in another key moment to ensure the Reds claimed the three points.
Chelsea have been tipped as one of the biggest threats to Liverpool in the title race after a high-spending summer, but it was the current champions who came out on top.
It maintains Liverpool’s winning start to the season after their dramatic 4-3 win over Leeds last week. And once again, Klopp was impressed with the intensity from both teams.
He told Sky Sports: “Super game. Really good game from both teams. I like our game a lot.
“Chelsea are a top side. Our own football I liked in the first half, really good situations, passed through the line but we didn’t score.
“After the red card, the second half is a different game. We kept the ball rolling, let them run, scored the goals, conceded a penalty, Ali saved it, so all good. Everybody had a hand in the result.”
FABINHO RIVALLED MANE FOR MAN OF THE MATCH
Liverpool were coming up against a striker they had been heavily linked with in the shape of Timo Werner, who moved to Stamford Bridge instead earlier this summer.
Klopp is well aware of the qualities Werner possesses, but thought Fabinho – who was deputising at centre-back – clearly won their individual battle.
The German added: “Timo is a good player. No real tactic that you can defend against him when he has the ball, but Fab played very well.
“If Sadio hadn’t scored two goals then Fab gets man of the match.”
In the end, though, it was Mane who stole the headlines, thanks to his impressive brace.
His first goal was a powerful header after sneaking inside his marker, before his second saw him react to a mistake to pounce on a loose ball from Kepa Arrizabalaga and slot home.
And Klopp couldn’t pick a favourite between the two goals, which both showed different skills.
“I loved both goals for different reasons,” he said. “Top header, but I loved the movement from Sadio, which is why he can score.
“The second goal he gets the reward for pressure on the keeper. I liked it. I liked both goals.”
KLOPP REACTS TO THIAGO DEBUT
Another of the standout players for Liverpool was new signing Thiago, who was making his debut as a half-time substitute.
Despite only playing half the game, the former Bayern Munich midfielder made 75 passes – more than any Chelsea player in the whole game.
Thiago played more than he may have anticipated after having to replace Jordan Henderson at the break, but Klopp was pleased with his first outing.
The Liverpool boss said: “Top timing. He played with Spain and trained with Munich so he’s fit, that’s not problem.
“He needs to get used to his team-mates, but when they went one man down it became the perfect game for him. I liked his game a lot.
“Defensively it was tricky for him, but offensively, with the ball, that’s him, he wants to pass the ball.”