Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s reaction to the concession of an early goal after they came from behind to beat Manchester United 4-2 at Old Trafford.
The Reds looked set for another disappointing visit to the home of their bitter rivals when Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring after just 10 minutes on Thursday evening.
But goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah either side of a Roberto Firmino brace rendered a further Marcus Rashford effort irrelevant and handed Liverpool their first Old Trafford win since 2014.
And it was the mental strength shown in the aftermath of the early setback that most pleased Klopp.
He told Sky Sports: “We reacted really well on their goal, it was unlucky in that moment but it was a bit like we started the game to be honest.
“The defending in that moment, letting Bruno, half right side, coming inside – there was nobody.
“He could have used his left, could’ve used the outside of his right foot and it was unlucky in the centre but the defending in that moment wasn’t good.
“They overloaded the wings obviously and we didn’t adapt well to that in the first 15 minutes or so.
“Then we got control and from that moment on we could play what we want to play. That was absolutely okay and second half even better.
“Great fight, good game, intense, how a derby should be, and since I’m at Liverpool the first win at Old Trafford.
“Good timing, I would say! We needed it, we fought hard for it, we deserved it and so all good.”
Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday opened the door for Liverpool to claim a place in the Champions League spots with four wins from their last four games of this season.
But, while it is one down as far as that aim is concerned, Klopp is expecting the remaining three Premier League fixtures to throw up plenty of challenges.
“It was necessary. Without this result we don’t have to talk too much about it,” he added.
“We are still in the race, that’s all that we could have done tonight, we did that and now we have a very intense period playing the next three games in a week.
“In three days West Brom, Burnley with supporters, and then Crystal Palace at home, which we are looking forward to for different reasons because our supporters are there then hopefully.
“We have to recover quickly and to go again.”
If there was one small blot on a good evening for Liverpool, it was an apparent spat between Klopp and substitute Sadio Mane at full-time.
Asked about the Senegalese’s refusal to acknowledge his manager when leaving the pitch, he said: “There’s no problem.
“Yesterday I made a late decision in training to decide Diogo. I explain things usually but there was no time for that.
“That’s all. It’s all fine.”
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