Date published: Saturday 31st October 2020 8:39
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says the attitude of his players in their hard-fought 2-1 win over West Ham was “really exceptional”.
For the third straight Premier League home game, the Reds had to come from behind to claim the three points.
Pablo Fornals put the Hammers ahead early on, but a Mohamed Salah penalty and Diogo Jota’s late winner earnt the champions the three points.
It was another performance in which Liverpool weren’t at their free-flowing best. But Klopp says he enjoyed the will to win that was on display from his team.
Speaking to Sky Sports he said: “With the number of games we have and then seeing the determination of the boys, the desire of the boys, the will to play football, to deal with setbacks which the goal of them [West Ham] obviously is really exceptional.
“Football is all about finding the right way and tonight the boys found it. Obviously we prepared for it but you have to still do it and I love the second goal, super play.
“The boys are in form at the moment, Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] is in incredible form as well as Diogo obviously. [It was a] super goal, how we did the situation around Sadio [Mane] to fight for the ball, Gini [Wijnaldum] then with the counter press and passing the ball and keeping the overview, all these kind of things.
“That’s what we had to do the whole 95 minutes against a deep defending side which every set piece they have is a major threat for us, but we dealt with that well, so I’m really happy.”
The win sends Liverpool top of the league until tomorrow at least with Everton not in action until Sunday afternoon.
Klopp shares amusing Phillips story
The German also revealed a pre-match chat he had with Nathaniel Phillips, who made his Premier League debut against the Hammers.
With Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Fabinho absent through injury, the 23-year-old stepped in alongside Joe Gomez at the centre of Liverpool’s defence.
He had made just one senior appearance for the Reds before that, the 1-0 win over Everton in the FA Cup last season.
But Klopp was clearly impressed by his display, and revealed the defender claimed he was not nervous before the match.
“Nat Phillips, wow! I couldn’t be more happy. Before the game I asked him if he was nervous and he said ‘no’. I said ‘I would be!’
“But it’s good because it keeps you awake and he was awake from the first second. [He was] confident, did his stuff and played a really good game.”
Klopp also agreed with Jamie Carragher’s decision to award Phillips the Man of the Match award.
When asked if he thought he was deserving of it, he said: “Yes, one hundred per cent. Jamie was a defender and himself and he knows. Maybe he can remember his first game for Liverpool, that’s a big thing.
“Especially for a guy like Nat, who’s exceptionally intelligent and three years ago was already on his way to America to study at college. Now he’s played tonight for Liverpool and it’s a really nice story.”