Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp raves about Konate’s debut and provides Thiago injury update | Football | Sport
Jurgen Klopp admitted the scoreline makes Liverpool’s tricky 3-0 win over Crystal Palace look much easier than it really was, as the Reds were pushed all the way by the Eagles on a challenging afternoon at Anfield. Goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita put Liverpool top on an afternoon where Manchester City could only manage a draw at home to Southampton.
While Liverpool squandered their fair share of chances, Palace also had their moments on Merseyside but the Reds’ resilience saw them secure their fourth Premier League clean sheet of the season, having now conceded just once in their opening five league matches.
Klopp made a number of changes to his backline too, resting Joel Matip and Andy Robertson while Trent Alexander-Arnold sat the game out due to illness.
Yet debutant Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas and James Milner all stepped up to the plate, showing Klopp that they’re ready to perform whenever called upon.
“It is one of the most hard-fought 3-0s ever. We had to give everything. Hard but fair challenges,” Klopp told Sky Sports, when reflecting on the victory.
“Physicality was immense and we had to be ready. The chips in behind our full-back gave us trouble. The longer it went they used that more and more.
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“We had to run. Wednesday/Saturday rhythm is really hard. We scored wonderful goals and used our set-pieces.
“It is massive in games like this. These are the games you have to win when you are not brilliant.”
It looked like Liverpool’s missed chances could come back to haunt them after Diogo Jota fired over from three yards with the goal at his mercy but the Reds were persistent and were therefore rewarded for their determination just moments later, when Mane opened the scoring before half-time.
“We weren’t flying today. We had to grind out a proper performance. I liked it,” Klopp added.
“When you look back you have these games when it was really fun. And some was it was important. This is one of those important games.”
One major positive for the heavily-rotated Reds was the performance of Konate in his first outing for Liverpool.
The Frenchman was dominant at the back alongside Virgil van Dijk to help nullify Christian Benteke and Palace’s pace on the break.
Konate has had to remain patient to make his first appearance in his new colours following his £34million move from RB Leipzig but he delivered on his first Premier League outing at Anfield.
“You can see he is incredibly talented,” Klopp said on his new defender.
“The potential is outstanding. He is used to winning challenges easy. He is young and he played a really good game. Massive. First home game for him.”
There was some bad news though for Liverpool to sour a fine afternoon as Thiago hobbled off with a calf problem.
He headed straight down the tunnel but his manager Klopp appears quietly hopeful the injury will not be as bad as first feared.
“He felt the calf. I don’t know right now but we hope it is not too serious,” he concluded.