Jurgen Klopp reflected on a near-perfect game from Liverpool as Mohamed Salah showed his “desire to score” with a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Bournemouth.
Salah netted his first treble since March as the Reds made light work of a hardworking Cherries side to move to the top of the Premier League—with Man City playing Chelsea later in the day.
It was one of Liverpool’s best performances of the season, particularly in the final third, with Salah’s role in the 4-2-3-1 finally clicking and allowing him to punish a hapless Asmir Begovic and Steve Cook, who also scored an own goal.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Klopp admitted that he could see little room for improvement in his side’s second-half display, though he stressed that they took time to find their “rhythm” before the break.
The Reds only created six clear chances at Dean Court, and Klopp said that a clinical showing from their No. 11 was the difference.
“Whatever you do in a football game you need someone to finish it off, and what Mo did around his two goals in the second half was exceptional,” he said.
This display was a far cry from the disjointed showing in Liverpool’s 4-3 loss at the same ground two years ago, with a clear difference in personnel coming in the form of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk.
Reflecting on the differences in his side from that day, the manager once again highlighted a “controlled” approach, the fruits of their work in training.
“We let Bournemouth come back in the game [in 2016]; I can’t say it will never happen again, but we are more in control of these situations [now],” he explained.
“We always kept the door open a little bit, and it was something we wanted to work on.”
With Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren injured, Joel Matip partnered Van Dijk at the back, and Klopp was eager to praise his backup centre-back on a similar level to his regular fixtures.
“We could write a book about Virgil’s strength, Alisson‘s strength, but nobody will talk about what Joel Matip did today,” he added.
Matip could be required to make a third consecutive start on Tuesday night, with Napoli travelling to Anfield for a high-profile clash that will decide Liverpool’s fate in Europe.
With such a tight turnaround, Klopp was wise to withdraw Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Roberto Firmino before the final whistle, and it was clear in his press conference that his focus has already switched to the Champions League.
“The boys really fight for each yard. Let’s go home, eat, sleep and recover immediately,” he said.
“Tomorrow, little session; Monday, little season; and Tuesday, Napoli.”
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