LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp praised Liverpool’s persistence as they did just enough to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Anfield thanks to a cool finish from Sadio Mane.
Liverpool fans were getting increasingly frustrated on Saturday as Klopp’s side struggled to break down Palace’s obdurate defense.
However, Senegal winger Mane finally made the difference, capitalizing on a mistake by Luka Milivojevic to slot past the impressive Wayne Hennessey with 17 minutes to go.
The goal lifted the tension around Anfield as Liverpool secured their first league win of the season following last weekend’s frustrating 3-3 draw at Watford.
Rather than dwell on his team’s lack of cutting edge, Liverpool manager Klopp was happy with the way his players stuck to their task.
“It was a hard job. I have no idea how much we had the ball but it was a lot,” he said.
“We had moments in the first half but had to be more patient because they were deep. We didn’t score but we didn’t give counter-attacks away.
“We defended brilliantly and we had the ball all of the time – it felt like 85 percent possession. You need to make the right decisions and in the first half we didn’t. We could have finished more often than we did but had our moments.
“The second half was much better and I loved the goal we scored because it was not our best one-two in the game. It was a nice goal and we deserved it a lot.
“At 1-0 up we made the ball do the work. We could have closed the game earlier, we didn’t. It was an all inclusive package.”
The build-up to this encounter was dominated by more speculation about the future of 25-year-old Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who is wanted by Barcelona.
The La Liga giants offered £114 million ($146 million) for Coutinho on Friday, which Liverpool rejected, and club sources insist Klopp will not back down despite the player handing in a transfer request.