Klopp surprised by Liverpool's perfect start
|(Chris Wood 33-og,
Sadio Mane 37, Roberto Firmino 80)
Juergen Klopp admitted he has been surprised by Liverpool’s 100 per cent start to the English Premier League season after a 3-0 victory at Burnley on Sunday morning (Sept 1, Singapore time) kept his side two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.
The European champions struggled in pre-season, losing three times, as they had to cope largely without Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane after their participation in international tournaments during the summer.
But all three have picked up where they left off last season as Klopp’s men extended their winning run in the EPL to a club-record 13 games.
“If you ask me four weeks ago, I wouldn’t expect it would happen,” said Klopp.
“We had a tricky pre-season. No pre-season for the front three but they still deliver. So far, so good.”
Burnley were left to rue missing the first big chance of the match when Chris Wood got in behind the Liverpool defence just three minutes in and turned Virgil van Dijk, but the New Zealander’s shot was just too close to Adrian, who palmed the ball to safety.
Liverpool went straight down the other end and were inches away from an early lead themselves when Salah’s fiercely struck effort came back off the post.
The Egyptian then did not get the break of the ball as Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope’s clearance bounced off Salah and inches wide.
However, fortune did favour Klopp’s men 12 minutes before half-time.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was clearly looking to deliver a cross into the box, but the ball deflected off Wood and looped over Pope into the far corner.
Burnley then played a huge part in their own downfall moments later when Ben Mee gifted possession to Firmino inside the hosts’ half.
The Brazil forward strode forward before releasing a perfect pass so Mane did not have to break his stride in finding the bottom corner.
Firmino then became the first Brazilian to score 50 EPL goals when he found the bottom corner from just outside the box 10 minutes from time.
“On transition, they are deadly,” said Burnley boss Sean Dyche. “We gave them too many cheap turnovers in dangerous areas.
“They were the better side and deserved to win the game but 3-0 doesn’t really reflect the game.”
Liverpool could ease off the gas after the break to record their first clean sheet of the season as Burnley rarely threatened to get back into the game.
“We controlled the game as much as you can,” added Klopp. “Wood and (Ashley) Barnes fight so hard for these balls, and we defended it really well. We were aggressive but gave away no fouls, we worked our socks off.”
Klopp also downplayed the one flash-point that came when Mane reacted angrily to being substituted moments after Salah chose to go for goal himself rather than squaring for his teammate, who appeared in a better position.
“Sadio is an emotional guy,” said Klopp. “Something went not like he wanted, it is not the substitution. We will clarify it in the dressing room.” – AFP