Jürgen Klopp reiterated the pride he feels about his team after watching Liverpool battle their way to a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Sadio Mane’s 42nd-minute winner decided a tight match at Anfield on Sunday and restored the Reds’ 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

An 18th win from 19 top-flight games this season means the European and world champions end 2019 having collected 98 points from a possible 111 throughout the calendar year.

Klopp’s side have also now gone 50 Premier League home games unbeaten.

Read on for a transcript of the boss’ post-match press conference…

On his reaction to the game and Liverpool’s performance…

It was [a hard-fought game], it was indeed. No surprise, Wolves are a proper, proper team with a lot of strength, but in the first half we controlled the game like we wanted, like we should. We had chances, scored the goal. We had to defend, the counter-attacking threat is massive – Neto and Jota were on their bikes immediately, but we defended it well. Then we scored the goal. I think Nuno was not happy with the VAR procedure probably, I am not sure if it was with the decision. What can we say about the decision? For me, for the first second I was surprised when the whistle came and it was handball. I thought it was a clear shoulder from the first second, but how can you be sure so it took a while. Then we scored the goal, after three minutes the decision was done. I saw immediately this kind of relief for a second – we are all human beings and it is normal – but for the next long ball we were not there for the second ball, Adam [Lallana] makes a foul, free-kick, corner, goal. It didn’t count, but it brought the momentum on their side. 

They were really aggressive, really angry with us as well, we had nothing to do with that situation to be honest, but that’s how sometimes in sports it happens. That’s how they came out of the dressing room; I can imagine what Nuno said at half-time, everybody is against us so let’s fight back – easy motivation. They came out, pressed us a little bit higher, we were not fresh enough in mind to adapt to that immediately and caused ourselves some problems in the build-up. Ali wanted to make the game quick, but 10 other players didn’t want that and he threw the ball still there, that didn’t help. Calmed everything down a bit again, we controlled it more, then they made some changes, brought on fresh legs, we tried to react, it was an open game now. Not too much threat, but there were a couple of situations and Ali had to make a save or two. As I have already said tonight five or six times, if it would be easy to win that number of games a lot more teams would have done it. It is not easy and you have to fight with all you have. Sometimes we have more and sometimes less and the boys do that all the time, so I couldn’t be more proud of what they did again. To get that result over the line is just impressive and I am really happy about it.

On whether he was happy with how Liverpool managed the second half…

No, not always. We had moments. We had these passing options, that’s what we were asking for constantly, but in football there is no chance to recover in a game if you don’t keep the ball. You cannot recover while the other team has the ball, so you have to do it in possession but that’s not the calm thing – it is a very lively thing, just not with the highest intensity. It is just smart, you play against their movement, you play in half-spaces. Naby and Millie helped immediately, you could see that. My God, Adam Lallana and Gini what they played today effort-wise, miles-wise, was really great, but then fresh players there in the half-space helped obviously. Then we caused them problems again but didn’t finish them off, it was not a game for two or three goals for us tonight, so we had to fight until the end. As I said, no problem with that.

On how he sees the picture at the top of the table with his side 13 points clear having played half of their league season…

No different to before the game, to be honest. It is a long way to go for all of us. Everybody asks me how was my 2019; my 2019 was brilliant but it’s not important because we count seasons not years so the 2019-20 season is not over. We are halfway there, we still have 19 games to play and probably 18 or 19 of them will be like this tonight, for different reasons. We will now face teams who fight for the league with all they have, then the fight for the Champions League and European spots is reopened again so they will fight with all they have and we have to be ready. Who cares about points in December? We just created a basis which we will work with from now on, that’s all.

On how difficult it is to choose a winner with Mane and Mohamed Salah being in competition for the CAF African Player of the Year award…

I have no clue. I love them both, so for me it would be easy – there would be two first places, easy as that. I got this week another award so for somebody who is not believing in individual awards, especially not for managers, I got really a lot this year. They are both incredible players, so I don’t know what you would decide but somebody will decide it and they both would deserve it. That’s it.

On whether he senses a growing belief among the fans about winning the league this season…

I think our fans are exactly like the team is: they are not interested in the moment, they don’t want to celebrate now and stuff like this. They take it like it is. They dig in in a game like today and today I liked it a lot how the fans were: really in the game, this was a game when the crowd can be nervous and they weren’t, so that’s good. We are a unit so we fight until somebody says ‘you have enough points or not’. We will see but it is not about belief. If we would not be confident it would be really crazy but it’s not about knowing or wanting to know that it’s already done. That’s just a game with the media. Can you imagine really if you asked me ‘do you think it’s done?’ and I sat here and said ‘yeah, I think it’s done – we’ll still play of course, but I think it’s done’. That would be really crazy. It’s now five, six or seven weeks and you ask that question constantly and as a normal human being I have the same answer because it is not done. So discuss it if you want, ask me if you want, but don’t expect a different answer.

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Sadio Mane goal for Liverpool v Wolves

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