Jurgen Klopp hails Mohamed Salah's 'sensational' strike after Liverpool book Champions League last-16 place
Klopp on Salah: "Making such a decisive but a difficult finish says probably much more about him than all the other goals he scored. A sensational finish."
By PA Media
Last Updated: 11/12/19 12:38pm
Jurgen Klopp hailed a "sensational" goal by Mohamed Salah which secured Liverpool a 2-0 win over Red Bull Salzburg and ensured progress to the Champions League last 16.
The Egypt international had missed a hat-trick of relatively simple chances but slid home a curling shot from the narrowest of angles which virtually brushed the near post before creeping inside the far upright.
That came around a minute after Naby Keita headed home Sadio Mane's cross, the two former Salzburg players combining to ease the nerves after Klopp's side endured a challenging first half.
But the moment Salah's goal went in it was plain sailing for the defending champions and the forward could still have had a couple more before the end.
Asked to explain the goal, Klopp said: "Thank God I don't have to. It was for sure the most difficult situation he had tonight.
"He played really well but didn't score in the situations we expect him to score, staying on track and making such a decisive but a difficult finish says probably much more about him than all the other goals he scored.
"He stayed concentrated, believed in the next moment and it was a very good goal. A sensational finish."
Group E final standings
|3. Red Bull Salzburg||6||2||1||3||7|
'There are limits'
Liverpool needed only a point to be sure of progress but went comfortably through as group winners and, until the competition resumes in February, can turn their attention to consolidating their place at the top of the Premier League - in addition to the Club World Cup in Qatar next week.
The Reds have an eight-point lead over Leicester domestically, having dropped just two points in 16 matches, and will feel confident they have a good chance of reaching a third successive Champions League final.
Liverpool's packed end of 2019
- Dec 14: Watford (h)
- Dec 17: Aston Villa (a)
- Dec 18: CWC semi-final (n)
- Dec 21: CWC final or 3rd PO (n)
- Dec 26: Leicester (a)
- Dec 29: Wolves (h)
"Of course there are limits. We have to work hard to achieve what we want," added Klopp.
"We wanted to move on to the knockout stage, that was important. It wasn't our plan to be leader in the Premier League in December but it's great to be there, but we need to use everything and work very hard.
"There are limits, but if the boys play like that it makes it easier for us. But they have to be ready and try to achieve their goals like they did tonight."
3 - Liverpool have progressed past the Champions League group stages in all three of their campaigns in the competition under Jürgen Klopp, having failed to do so in their previous two seasons before the German's arrival (2009-10 and 2014-15). Unstoppable. #SALLIV pic.twitter.com/WlLQIgOvpO— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2019
Klopp hopeful on Lovren
The one downside to the performance was Dejan Lovren being forced off for the second successive match with a hamstring problem.
However, the manager is hopeful it is only a recurrence of the cramp he suffered at Bournemouth on Saturday.
"We hope it's exactly the same like last time he felt something and we made a decision," said the manager.
"It wasn't cool. He played really well and was very important in those 55 minutes.
"We don't know at the moment. Like last time, we have to see."
What's next for Liverpool?
Liverpool now host Watford in the Premier League on Saturday at 12.30pm before a League Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa on December 17, live on Sky Sports.