West Ham 0-2 Liverpool: Jürgen Klopp’s reaction

Jürgen Klopp hailed the winning mentality of his Liverpool players as they went 19 points clear at the top of the Premier League, but added improvements can still be made after Wednesday’s 2-0 triumph at West Ham United.

Klopp claimed his 50th away victory in the league as Reds boss when Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted in either half at London Stadium.

Salah opened the scoring via the penalty spot in the 35th minute before the No.11 provided a fine assist for Oxlade-Chamberlain in the early stages of the second period. 

The result saw Klopp’s side extend their lead at the summit and make full use of their game in hand on second-placed Manchester City. 

On whether beating all 19 other Premier League teams this season brings about personal satisfaction…

Nothing like that. I don’t feel anything like that. It’s not about feeling satisfaction or whatever. I was in the game completely; I wanted to win it like my boys wanted to win it desperately. Nobody thought before the game, ‘We won against 18 different teams in the league, so let’s make it 19’. How I said, you have to dig in [during a season]. The best way is you don’t breathe pretty much or you jump in the water, don’t breathe and then come out after 38 games and then you have a look what happened there. It’s difficult enough because we are not underwater. That’s how we really see it. Again, nothing like that in the dressing room. I don’t want to be extremely boring or stuff like that, it just doesn’t feel like that. I think the game again is a really good example – it was not a brilliant performance against a side which is insecure in the moment in the situation they are in. But for us on the other side, it makes it really difficult because a very important pattern in football is counter the counter. But for that the other team needs to have counters, and winning the ball back and then using the space. But we started pretty much each attack with a ball from a centre-half against nine or 10 or 11. 

I wish we would have done better but I take it like it is because if it would be easy to win this amount of games and have this number of points, so many other teams would have done it. It’s just really incredibly difficult. We played a sensational game [against Wolverhampton Wanderers], it was a tough game. A couple of days before that I think we played against United – super game. Before that, I don’t know exactly – super game. Today it was a game; we still had to win but we did it. 

On whether he’s having to find new ways to get his players up to the levels of intensity required…

No. It was not a motivational problem for us tonight. The boys were here motivation-wise – it’s absolutely no problem. The difficulty tonight was to get the rhythm, keep the rhythm and to stay concentrated. I think the biggest chances we gave them. It was Gini’s pass where we were alone in front of the goal and a sensational save from Ali, I think. Then Trent’s post – slapstick situation, I don’t know exactly how that happened. These situations, we gave pretty much away. Robbo had another pass like this. These boys, I would give them my kids to take care of them because I trust them 100 per cent, but in these situations they still can still make these kind of ridiculous mistakes, so it is nothing to do with motivation – it’s just staying concentrated when you are constantly in charge, that’s so difficult. If you then have a flow like you create chance after chance after chance, it’s a different game – but we didn’t and we have to admit that. We had to face that challenge and the boys did it at the end with the help of a goalie who had nothing to do the whole night until he had to make world-class saves. That shows his quality and for different reasons we are in the position we are in – and the most important reason is the quality of these players.

On whether Liverpool will set themselves targets for the remainder of the season…

I am not sure I have to because I was never in that situation, to be honest. I didn’t do it so far. Last year we had 97 points and I am not sure if we could have had 100 – 98 would have been possible if we had got a point at [Manchester] City. No, I didn’t do it so far and in the moment I see I have a problem with motivating the boys, then I would have to use different things – but so far it is not necessary. We are Liverpool and we have a proper history, everybody knows what we have to do and the motivation is to reach that and not any point records. If that would happen as a side-effect, we would take it, but we are not overly concerned about it.

On whether any statistics excite him…

I have no clue. Look, a record is a record until somebody breaks that record. When I became champion with Dortmund, we had 81 points which was the all-time record in Germany. One year later Bayern had 98! It’s not something I am really too much concerned about, that’s the truth. Game statistics are important and today, all the stats we had today are positive but strange as well because we had five shots on target and West Ham had four, so that with 70-something per cent possession makes no sense. We see and we know we have to do better. Only a week ago, the boys did so much better. It’s completely normal that you don’t perform always on the highest level, but winning football games is so difficult and we should not underestimate the performance we put out tonight because it was still more than good enough to win this game.