It was a resounding win over Watford for Liverpool who left Anfield as 5-0 victors. Scoring four of those goals was Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian attacker was virtually unstoppable for ninety minutes, popping up everywhere and getting involved in everything. Unsurprisingly, Jürgen Klopp was asked to comment on the performance of his rising star during the post-match interview.
“You can ask about him, but he gave the answer already,” said Klopp. “He gave it with four goals and if the question is what do I think about that, I think it’s quite exceptional.
“It was another good performance in a very difficult game in a very impressive manner, coping and dealing with difficult conditions tonight.
“The whole team did, of course, but around the first goal I would say Mo especially because it was obviously slippery, so everybody suffered, but not Mo in that situation. It was really special scoring that goal.”
The Liverpool manager generally doesn’t like to get too carried away with praising his player’s individual accomplishments. But it’s getting to the point when it’s impossible even for Klopp to refrain from showing an almost joyous reflection on his number eleven’s form.
“Yes, Mo is on a fantastic way, that’s for sure,” Klopp said. “But how it always is in life, if you have the skills then you have to show it constantly. His consistency is very good for us. It helps, he helps us a lot, the boys love playing together with him, he loves playing with them. So, it’s good.”
The goals are what win the games but Jürgen Klopp sees all the other contributions from his players throughout the match, too. Besting any team in the Premier League by five goals to nil is the result of a terrific team performance and the manager made time to put a spotlight on his other two attacking mainstays who complete the controlled chaos trifecta at Liverpool.
“You always need somebody who brings the ball over the line,” added Klopp, “but tonight I have to say Sadio’s game looked so mature, so mature. He was cool on the ball.
“Then in a 5-0 [it is unusual] that you speak about a striker because of his defensive work rate. I haven’t had that a lot but what Roberto Firmino did tonight, again, ask the other teams if they like it, to have him in their back, in and around. It kills so many situations for the opposition team, always someone coming from behind. In no other game is anybody coming, only against Liverpool, the No. 9 of Liverpool is chasing you.
“That’s just outstanding. That’s why we could win, that’s why we can win football games.”
Jürgen Klopp’s continued praise of Firmino as the vital cog in the machine, well, continues. It explains why the manager often selects the Brazilian over Sadio Mané and Salah to be substituted once a match victory looks secured, saving him for the next challenge. Firmino is crucial to Klopp’s plan and embodies the spirit of Klopp’s legendary heavy metal football.
Salah deserves all the plaudits after an exciting display against Watford in front of the home supporters. But without the efforts of the other attacking players along with the tenacity of Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner and Andy Robertson, without a strong showing from Joe Gomez, and another confident performance from Virgil van Dijk and others, the game could have ending a different way.
What I’m saying is, yes, the individuals in this Liverpool team are playing great football, but the fact that they are playing their best football for each other is what’s really starting to press my trousers.