Klopp thrilled with Keita performance, Ox return as Liverpool cruises

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is the right man to have in charge for this particular Premier League challenge.

The Reds won again on Friday to go back atop the league, but will not win the league if they win out and Manchester City does the same.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 5-0 Huddersfield Town ]

When you’re talking a 97-point season that doesn’t end with silverware aloft, you’re talking crazy; Yet that’s what stands before the Reds.

Take it from Andy Robertson, who collected another two assists in the 5-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town.

“We’re onto 91 points and normally that’s enough to win the league,” he said. “I think it’s going to take 97 or 98 and that’s incredible. We’ve fought the whole way, but whoever falls short will be gutted. But it’s something we can be proud of and not sure we could have done any more.”

That feeling is almost a pre-emptive gutting — not exactly possible, we know — but Klopp has done a magnificent job of framing each win for what it is and not in the context of, “But what about Man City?” ad nauseum.

Then again, it isn’t remarkable given the subplots of Friday’s win. Klopp saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain make his long-anticipated return from injury, and Naby Keita scored before the 15th second ticked off the clock at Anfield.

Here’s Klopp on “The Ox,” who missed a chance which would’ve sent Anfield into delirium. From Sky Sports:

“It was nearly heartbreaking when he missed the chance, but you saw him smile. He’s such a wonderful person. He’s a better person than player. Imagine that. He’s a really good player and as a guy he’s outstanding. We’re so happy for him.”

And here’s Klopp on Keita, who is finally finding his footing after getting limited chances to shine in his first season since transferring from RB Leipzig.

“He’s a complete midfielder,” Klopp said. “Today it was his best game in all defending situations he was so difficult to deal with. He’s so quick in small spaces, you can’t stop that. And I don’t know how many balls he blocked tonight. People were asking me what about Naby Keita and we always thought we signed him for next year. He needed time to adapt but thank God he has done it this season.”