Jurgen Klopp, lively as ever, praised his side after a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Southampton at St. Mary’s.
“It was brilliant, I have to say, and I told the boys they were mentality monsters, it’s unbelievable,” Klopp said immediately after the victory.
The German boss is also as transparent as anyone in the league, and he detailed in his post-match interview what sparked the turnaround after conceding just nine minutes in.
“Our formation was not good for protection,” Klopp said. “The center-halves were too deep so Fabinho had to cover too much space, so every ball they cleared in the box was nearly a counter-attack, that makes no sense, so we had to adjust that.”
[ RECAP, HIGHLIGHTS: Liverpool comes back to beat Southampton ]
Liverpool struggled to deal with the Southampton counter-attack throughout the first half, with Long’s opener coming on a breakaway. Long also should have scored a second before 20 minutes time, but whiffed on collecting a cross despite nobody marking him right in front of net.
“They [Southampton] scored the [opening] goal – a nice goal…not world class defending I would say, but a nice goal,” Klopp said with a wry smile. “But we stayed really calm, stayed in the situation, stayed in the game, and yeah…worked for the moment, not wait for it, but work for it, that’s what the boys did.”
Despite the struggles in the first half, Naby Keita equalized for Liverpool with a header for his first Premier League goal, and after halftime the adjustments were effective. Liverpool began to build into the ascendancy and forced Southampton deeper and deeper into its own half.
“The game calmed down [in the second half] and then we could decide it with two outstanding goals, both were outstanding. [The first one was a f]antastic counter-attack, Mo, that finish, everyone was probably waiting for the pass to Bobby but I saw he couldn’t pass, he couldn’t, it was not a good angle, so go go go and then finish it off…world class. And then third goal Bobby chased that ball, stays calm, sees Hendo [Jordan Henderson], fantastic so really really happy about the performance and the game because we knew it was difficult for us.”
Before wrapping up his interview, Klopp made sure people know that the Reds have their own identity separate from Manchester City, their main rivals for the Premier League title this season. While Pep Guardiola‘s group displays a free-flowing, attacking side that controls possession and chokes the life out of an opponent, Liverpool has shown a different style – resiliency. The Reds lead the Premier League with 16 points gained from losing positions this season.
“People want us to play like City, we are not able to do that, why should we do it? We have our way to play football, it’s a nice way and a really good way, we have 82 points or so, so that’s massive in this crazy league with these unbelievably strong opponents.”
With those 82 points, Liverpool returns to the Premier League lead by two over Manchester City. Hard to argue with that.