Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on win over West Ham, Darwin Nunez and Reds' resilience
Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool merited their 1-0 win over West Ham United at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Extended highlights: Liverpool 1-0 West Ham
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Darwin Nunez’s superb header in the 22nd minute, plus an Alisson Becker penalty save to deny Jarrod Bowen in first-half stoppage time, secured a second home victory by a single goal in the space of three days for the Reds.
Klopp’s side dominated the opening 45 minutes and Nunez also rattled the post during an all-action display, but West Ham improved after the break and the hosts needed a combination of a last-ditch tackle by James Milner and an Alisson stop to thwart Tomas Soucek late on.
Read a transcript of the manager’s post-match press conference below.
On the result and performance...
I think the first half was a really good first half, with a bad ending for us with the penalty... but then with a good ending because Ali could save the penalty. It still left a bit of a bad taste like we were lucky, but first half we were not - we played an exceptional game. We played really good football, we created, we scored a wonderful goal, hit the post, Fabianski with great saves and big blocks in the decisive areas from West Ham, but we didn’t play that well in the second half, so that’s why the game opened up. We had our moments, obviously, but in general we didn’t play enough to control the game. Then, if you don’t control it, West Ham are there, then the long balls flying in and great set-pieces. In the end, we needed Ali, we needed Millie’s big toe and we needed a couple of things. Overall, I think it is a deserved three points. It is a very important, tough period for all teams so you have to grind results out and now in three days’ time the next fight is waiting already. That’s the situation and for the moment, all good.
On Nunez getting his first Anfield goal for Liverpool...
It is important. He has scored now a couple of times in the last few games. He arrived 100 per cent, now even with numbers, which is fine. He felt a little bit the muscles at half-time but it was all fine and after five minutes [of the second half] I was just a bit concerned about long sprints for him and balls where he stretches his legs. I thought, ‘Come on, we cannot take that risk’ and that’s why we changed. But then because West Ham are a set-piece team as well, we needed to make sure we had enough players who can withstand that, so that’s why the two other changes came as well. In the end, when we changed another two times, then we controlled it again. Millie was still flying from Sunday and we brought it over the line. It is a Premier League game and I cannot remember an easy game in all of the seven years and few days and that was for sure not easy tonight, but we played well enough - and in moments, really good. In the end, altogether, well enough to deserve three points.
On whether Nunez’s fitness is a cause for concern…
No, no, no. I think we caught it at the right moment.
On his side rediscovering the ability to see out tight wins in their last two outings…
Absolutely, it’s just now it didn’t happen too often. It’s now not that we are used to it and these kind of things - we either win really high or not! But it’s the second 1-0 in a row, which is absolutely fine. It’s a brilliant result, it’s just that obviously until the end… I know people hate it when I mention the wind but it makes a football game really tricky. The ball is in the air and you could see a few moments where [there was] this long diagonal ball and everybody expected Trent to get the ball and then in the last second the ball gets a little push and it goes wide, and then there is a one-on-one situation against Benrahma, who is obviously a pretty good dribbler. In these situations that just can happen so that’s why you should keep the ball on the ground and control it, and that’s what we have to do. That we have space for improvement I think is clear, it was always the case and is tonight the case. But in this moment we have three points more than before and that feels massive.