Jürgen Klopp hailed the attitude his players showed to defeat ‘exceptional’ Southampton 4-0 and send Liverpool 22 points clear at the Premier League summit.

The Reds emerged victorious from a tough clash with Saints at Anfield on Saturday as second-half goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah (two) secured the win.

Klopp detailed the difficulty of the contest – and why the determination of his team brought particular satisfaction – in his post-match press conference.

The manager also explained why Liverpool will continue to ignore the remarkable statistics they are posting as they simply focus on each match at a time.

Read a transcript below…

On the difference between the two halves and Liverpool’s ‘clinical’ counter-attacking in the second half…

First and foremost, I really have to say, wow, Southampton – what a team that is. I am so long in football and never saw a turnaround like that. When I saw them playing at home against Chelsea months ago, I was really worried. Doing that kind of turnaround is just exceptional. The set-up they have is constantly causing you problems, if you do the wrong things – which we did in the first half in some moments. Their defending is really good and then their counter-attacks are exceptional. Ingsy and Long, what they do there up front, how they got supported by the midfield and the wingers, is just exceptional That’s why we had the problems in the first half, because we lost the balls in the wrong moment.

We had to change two or three things, most importantly we had to change the involvement of Fabinho – switch the side with him, pass the ball there. Then we started rolling, if you want. There was the situation, of course, when Southampton wanted a penalty – I didn’t see it back yet – and we had that kind of counter-attack and Oxlade with a sensational goal. But I already liked the second half much more until that goal, what we did then was just really good. We played much calmer, used Fabinho better; with this positioning we used all the midfielders better, used our full-backs better and had better direction. It was just a better game and in the end we won it.

The strange thing of this game is that it’s not even too high [a scoreline], it’s just strange that Southampton could have won it as well. That just shows how difficult it was today. Even more so, we are really pleased about the outcome.

On 22 points being the biggest advantage ever held by the leaders in the English top flight and that being an ‘astonishing achievement’…

True. And again, it’s easy for me to use this game as a description for the situation. We have just incredibly difficult opponents to play against, they are not here to be part of any party, they want to hurt us normally – they want to beat us. That’s absolutely normal. We have to throw everything we have on the pitch to get out of these games with a point or three points. And the boys do that, thankfully, and that’s why we are where we are. But we don’t take that for granted, not for a second.

For today it was the best thing we could do. The attitude and the mentality of these boys made it again possible that we could win this game. Because this was a game which looked in moments not only tricky, it looked like – banana skin is maybe not the right word because Southampton are too good for being a banana skin – but it looked like today, yes it will probably happen [Liverpool would drop points]. The boys put a sensational shift in, everybody went to the point and above, so that makes this group really special. That’s all that happened. We didn’t want to have a 22-point difference to other teams today, we wanted to have 73 points after that matchday. And that’s what we have, so all good for the moment.

On whether he gives any thought to the statistics around Liverpool’s form…

We don’t look at that number, that’s true. The game we lost in the [unbeaten] period was at Manchester City and we could say we lost it because of 11mm or whatever. It was a really tight game, so imagine if we would have drawn that day and then I don’t know what the number would be then of how many games we didn’t lose or whatever. Look, I promise you I don’t lie: we don’t feel it. We just don’t feel it. Today before the game, my main feeling is that I am concerned. I am a very optimistic person but not before a football game because I have known for long enough anything can happen; the ball rolls in different directions and stuff like this.

Today, for example, Southampton had absolutely too many shots and finishes, but what Ali is doing with these finishes, I have no clue how he is doing it. It looks always at the end like it was not a good finish, but I think the finishes were pretty good, just Ali was there. That is really special. We are not perfect, not even close to being perfect – the only thing [is] we don’t care about not being perfect, we just try to make the best of – and use – our skills in the best possible way. The boys have done that now for a while pretty good and that’s why we have these kind of numbers, but it doesn’t feel a second like it’s really special, it just feels the hardest work. That’s why I am so happy the boys can go now for a week somewhere else, do what they have to do to come back recharged, refreshed. Then we prepare [for] Norwich and the rest of the season.

On whether he’s ever seen such consistency from a team before…

I have never seen it, to be honest. If I was asking from the outside, I would ask the same questions. Maybe other people would feel different, but I can only say it doesn’t feel [like it]. It’s not that I feel stronger and stronger and stronger after each win, it’s not like this. It is just one, great celebration – sometimes more, sometimes less – then relief, settle and go again.

On whether he gives any consideration to the records Liverpool could achieve if they maintain their form…

I know about it, again I have no clue how it should feel, but it is not that I think we are close to something really special. The boys have now a week off, we all have a week off, and then we go again. That’s the only thing I know and all the rest we have to see. So many things can happen in football. Even when there’s any decision made in the future, whenever that will be, why should we then stop thinking the same way? We have to use the skills of the boys, we have to use the character of the boys, we have to use the power of this club and especially of this stadium. It is our duty to win football games and that’s what we’ve tried now for a while.

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