Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said that Liverpool needed to show they could play without Philippe Coutinho after his side ended Manchester City’s unbeaten run with a thrilling 4-3 win at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool put on an impressive attacking display as they inflicted a first defeat of the season on Pep Guardiola’s side thanks to goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, while City replied through Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan.
Speaking after the game Klopp said he knew people would be waiting to judge the side post-Coutinho, and that Liverpool put in the perfect response.
“It was the right statement,” said Klopp. “It was not that I said in the meeting before the game ‘by the way it would help a lot if you win and nobody speaks about Philippe Coutinho’.
“I am sure he was jumping in his living room in Barcelona, but of course it is important we showed we can play without him and we did that. It is a very important statement. We got the three points in a very important moment. Now we have a long week to prepare for Swansea.”
Klopp said that Liverpool attacked City because he figured it was the only way to play against their rivals.
“You have no alternatives to beat City – you could win the lottery, hope they tackle each other and then you can stand deep in your own box and hope nothing happens but that it is not really likely,” said Klopp.
“Being Liverpool we should not try this way. Then you don’t have a lot of alternatives, you have none. You need to be brave and you need to play football.
“The pressing in the second half, round the goals, was different planet, just outstanding. What do you say? It’s a cool movie. We wanted to win and the boys deserved it.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 14, 2018
“I’ve had worse days in my life. I’ve not had many bad ones but few worse than that because I really respect the quality of the opponent.
“You can see what they do, you can see Man City five times a week, you watch it and see it and know you have to avoid this and deny that. It is all possible but quite difficult.
“You need really a good football team to do that and thank god I have one. That makes sense to try it and we tried very hard today.
“It was just a joy to watch how both teams threw everything on the pitch. Both teams tried to play football, defended really well without a lot of hard fouls, a few tactical ones, especially from City in a period when we were really on track.
“It is a nice commercial for Premier League football and the whole world was watching. If somebody didn’t watch football until now then they would say, ‘that’s why you watch it all the time’. I’m really happy about it.”
City coach Pep Guardiola was gracious in defeat, although he said he expected his side to bounce back immediately in their next game against Newcastle.
“It is our first defeat. We need to realise where we are and what we did. Football is unpredictable. We lost today against a fantastic team,” said Guardiola.
“Now we have to be sure to win the next one and be fighting to win the Premier League. It is difficult to maintain this way it all the time. Now we must be positive.
“Losing is not good news but all the team lose games. What is important is not to lose again. Now we look to the next one.”
Liverpool fans also made light of Coutinho’s exit.
For a team that supposedly has no creativity without Philippe Coutinho, we’re not doing half bad here.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) January 14, 2018
There will be no game in Spain that will ever get close to when Liverpool blow a top team away at Anfield. Hope Coutinho was watching today. Looks like we’re moving on without him very nicely.
— VorsprungdurchJürgen (@happydobbin44) January 14, 2018
Coutinho’s checking his wallet to see if he booked a return flight to Spain or not.
— Jack Dean (@Jaack) January 14, 2018
Ahah Mane MANE
And BOBBY FIRMINOOOOOOO!!
Who needs Coutinho?
CAUSE WE GOT SALAH!!!!!!!
— KL Kopites (@KL_Kopites) January 14, 2018
To think Coutinho left this to play Malaga.
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) January 14, 2018