As is often the way, Jürgen Klopp summed it up best.
But on this occasion the Liverpool manager, rarely short of a suitable turn of phrase, did so without words.
In reflecting on Nathaniel Clyne’s performance against Manchester United on Sunday, the defender’s 100th game for the club, Klopp instead mimed taking his hat off.
The motion, delivered during an interview with Liverpoolfc.com shortly after the Reds sealed a 3-1 victory over their arch-rivals at Anfield, was a fitting tribute to a player who had made his first Premier League appearance of the season and only his second in all competitions in 2018-19 in the match.
And did so off the back of less than a week’s training, too.
“Clyney is a high-class player,” Klopp – who was without right-back options Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and James Milner due to injury – had explained when it was confirmed Clyne would start.
“He didn’t play for a while, that’s true, he was injured and we had other options in the position. That’s how life sometimes is, it’s not really fair but it was the situation.
“But he trained most of the time without any complaints. In the last two to two-and-a-half weeks he had a couple of problems, but he’s available now. He’s fine.”
The 27-year-old himself promised ‘the adrenaline will help’ deal with the demands of one of world football’s biggest fixtures. Whatever it was, it worked.
He rewarded his boss’ faith with a confident and assured display that betrayed little, if any, sign of the Englishman’s lack of game time during the previous 18 months.
Clyne’s tally of four tackles was the highest in the Liverpool team and he was victorious in seven of the nine duels he contested across the 90 minutes.
The No.2 also recorded the most accurate passing in the United half for the Reds – 92 per cent.
Klopp did find the words to describe the performance: “Nathaniel Clyne… mid-December, first [league] game of the season after an injury and a difficult period, not playing even if you are fit. What a game.”