Klopp hails Reds' intensity as they reach Champions League last 16, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Klopp hails Reds' intensity as they reach Champions League last 16

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp praised his side's "intensity" after two goals in as many minutes from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah meant they avoided an embarrassing early Champions League exit by winning 2-0 in Salzburg yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The European champions needed to avoid defeat against the Austrian league title-holders to book their place in the last 16, and victory ensured they did so as winners of Group E ahead of Napoli.

Salah had been guilty of missing a host of big chances as Liverpool walked a tightrope for nearly an hour, but made amends with a sumptuous finish from a narrow angle after Keita's header had settled the holders' nerves.

"What a team, what an effort," Klopp told BT Sport.

"It was a tough game but, in the second half, Salzburg couldn't cope with the intensity. We scored two wonderful goals. We could have scored six or seven. We won the game, we won the group, all good.

"When we had the ball, we had sitters and didn't score. Then Mo (Salah) scored the most difficult situation of the night - he scored that goal."

Salzburg had scored 87 goals in 24 previous games this season, including three when Liverpool edged a seven-goal thriller between the two back in October.

But Norwegian wonderkid Erling Braut Haaland was thwarted as the Reds recorded their first clean sheet in this season's Champions League.

It was a point emphasised by former Reds legend John Aldridge, who said that a clean sheet away from home should be a massive boost for Liverpool going into the tough Christmas period.

"That's a big clean sheet," Aldridge said on LFC TV.

"You look at the stats, Salzburg always score at home... The lads got exactly what they deserved.

"It's great for confidence on the back of doing it against Bournemouth (in the English Premier League).

"Hopefully, it will spur us on going into the heavy period in December."

Liverpool host bottom club Watford in the EPL on Saturday.