Tuesday 20 August 2019

'I thought it's destiny' - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on his side's win at Newcastle and Mo Salah's injury

Jurgen Klopp salutes his Liverpool team as they produce a thrilling victory at Newcastle to keep the Premier League title race alive
Jurgen Klopp salutes his Liverpool team as they produce a thrilling victory at Newcastle to keep the Premier League title race alive
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted he remained calm heading into the closing of his side's must-win game at Newcastle, as he suggested destiny would dictate that his team would find a late winner.

After twice surrendering a lead in a thrilling game at St James' Park, substitute Divock Origi claimed an 86th minute winner to fire Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League heading into the final week of the season.

The result ensured the title race will conclude on the final Sunday, with the pressure now on Manchester City to respond when they entertain Leicester at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

On a night when it seemed as if a ragged Liverpool would surrender in their title push, Klopp insisted he was the calmest man in the stadium as he has faith in his players to find a way to win, after talisman Mohamed Salah was carried off with a head injury mid-way through the second half.

"I was calm because I thought it's destiny," he declared. "The boys try everything and you just have to try it, we were aggressive, tried to push but then we had the break around Mo and he had to go off

"For me it's clear I only have to help the boys. I don't feel pressure. If we are champions then we are champions, you can't feel pressure when you do your best.

"To have 94 points is incredible. Today was a battle of will but it was a victory of passion, heart and absolute desire - absolutely brilliant.

"The way Newcastle played, it was just difficult to deal with in general. It's really difficult to defend all these situations and we cannot defend them, it kept them in the game.

"We had so many fantastic moments of football, we should've finished it off before they scored the second goal. It's brilliant, that's football, it's not important, what the boys did is unbelievable.

Divock Origi celebrates his winner for Liverpool (Richard Sellers/PA)

"It's brilliant, so deserved, it was a tough game against a physically stronger team than us. We had to fight, I couldn't be more proud.

"I said the only way is to play football, we have fresh legs and they were so honest in what they did. Newcastle, credit to them, they tried everything, but we have three points and have qualified for our final.

"You play the whole season so intense, we are not the best team in the world and we have to work hard. There are no easy games and now at the end of the season we have three games in six days. That's really hard. I didn't see anyone being nervous, we just tried it, no silly fouls, just really clear, it's an important lesson for us that we can deal with that like this.

"We are not the best football team in the world. We have to work so hard for everything and in the last week, we have had three massive games in six days. Wow...that is so hard.

"In the end, we have a brilliant free-kick and what a fantastic goal. These boys are amazing. Now we have a cup final next weekend. Let's see what happens.

" Today was a battle of will but it was a victory of passion, heart and absolute desire - absolutely brilliant."

Klopp confirmed Salah was sitting up and watching the end of the game after his clash with Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka, with any signs of concussion certain to rule him out of the Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona on Tuesday night at Anfield.

"Mo watched the game inside, he was OK. He needs to be assessed," stated Klopp. "He seems okay, but at this moment we cannot say too much more. He got a proper knock on the head."

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is yet to agree a contract extension (Paul Harding/PA)

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez believes his side deserved something from their battle with Liverpool, as he responded to calls from the St James' Park faithful for him to stay at the club.

"I am really pleased with the performance and really proud," said Benitez. "From the first minute we were doing well against a very good team. Everything was quite good in terms of what we are trying to do.

"The crowd has been fantastic. These group of players are doing everything for the shirt, the fans are happy with the commitment of the players.

"I want the same that they want so hopefully we can keep talking in the next days and see if we are closer. They want the best for the club and I want the best for the club."

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