Jurgen Klopp praises ‘intelligence’ of Liverpool side after ‘absolutely deserved’ win over Tottenham

The managers had words at full-time and disagreed over who merited the points

Karl Matchett
Wednesday 16 December 2020 23:04
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was delighted with his team’s performance as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Anfield to move top of the Premier League.

Goals from Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min looked to be ensuring a share of the spoils, before Roberto Firmino’s thunderous late header meant the Reds overtook their rivals at the top and made it 66 home league games unbeaten.

Speaking after the game, Klopp praised his side’s efforts in a dominant performance, not just for the win but for remaining guarded against the counter-attacking threat of perhaps the most in-form forward pair in the league.

READ MORE: Premier League fixtures and table - all matches by date and kick-off time

"It was absolutely deserved, a really good game against a top side. You lose one ball and its 80 percent probability in your own box so you have to be focused, concentrated. They don’t want the ball too much and you have to play around that, keep them busy and we did that really well.

“Preparing a game like this you need an intelligent, open-minded group to work on these changes for an opponent like Spurs and it worked out. It was absolutely deserved. It felt like we had 70 percent possession or so and it’s tricky to stay concentrated but the boys did.”

In his own post-match interview, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho said his side deserved the victory rather than Liverpool – but again doubled down on his assertion that the north London side are not title contenders. There was also a suggestion that he had told Klopp he was unhappy with the home manager’s touchline behaviour, but the Liverpool coach negated both claims.

"Spurs is 100 percent one of the favourites with the quality they have. In the top-six games they are not bothered to sit back and go for counters. Against City they scored early after a smart free-kick routine and it’s tough to break them down so they will be there until end of season.

“He actually told me the better team lost, nothing about my behaviour on the touchline.”

While Firmino’s late winner was hailed by the Reds boss, his real praise was reserved for homegrown duo Rhys Williams - in the team due to Joel Matip’s latest injury - and Curtis Jones.

"Rhys oh my god, so intelligent. [He] is so strong in the air but with the ball as well, he laid the pass for our first goal. He has the right amount of confidence, apart from that super challenges, interceptions in the centre, for counter-attacks he didn’t drop too early. Curtis is Curtis, our boy thank god - imagine you have to sign him! He’s already here for years. Top, top-class players.”

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