Jurgen Klopp hails ‘genius of Bobby'

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino wheeling away to celebrate his late winner against Wolves, the Brazilian's 10th away goal in all competitions.
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino wheeling away to celebrate his late winner against Wolves, the Brazilian's 10th away goal in all competitions. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Firmino's late winner at Wolves maintains Liverpool's 40-game unbeaten league run

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp praised his team's "perfect reaction" after Liverpool fended off pressure from Wolves before claiming yet another Premier League win on Thursday.

Roberto Firmino's 84th-minute winner stretched their lead at the top of the table to 16 points with a game in hand. Jordan Henderson headed the visitors in front at Molineux, but Raul Jimenez scored a fine equaliser in the second half and proceeded to put Liverpool's unbeaten record in serious peril.

But the Reds eventually contained the hosts' attack and then plundered all three points with a 2-1 win to make it 40 league matches undefeated, nine shy of Arsenal's record set in the 2003-04 season.

After their 22nd victory in 23 games this campaign, manager Jurgen Klopp had one message for his players: "Let's carry on."

"We don't go for perfection, we go for a perfect reaction," said the German. "We try to fight back in difficult situations in games, which is what the boys did again. I'm really, really pleased."

Hailing Wolves as a "really, really good team who are different to everything else you face during the year", Klopp added that the key to victory was the way Liverpool gradually defused Wolves' threat after Jimenez's equaliser by regaining control of the game.

"You only have to calm the game down again, that was needed," he said. "The fact that we have different options to score a goal gives us the opportunity to stay in the game.

"(We got) a worldie from Bobby. It was a super, super, super goal. Moments can help us or the genius of Bobby Firmino can help us."

Their strength in depth was once again evident at Wolves despite losing Mane, their joint-top scorer in the top flight with 11 goals, to a suspected hamstring injury in the first half. He made way for Takumi Minamino and Klopp heaped praise on the versatile Japanese following his "superb" league debut.

"Taki has now two or three weeks training with us, played different positions in training, played central in the FA Cup game, now played right and left wing," he said.

"That was, for the first league game, exceptionally well, and he is completely integrated in the team and that's really good."

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  • Roberto Firmino's away league goals. He has none at home.

Firmino also kept up his amazing record of only scoring on the road this term after his eighth league strike and 10th in all competitions, while Henderson, who was an authoritative figure all evening, got the opener via Trent Alexander-Arnold's 10th assist this season.

The right-back is the first defender to register 10 or more assists in multiple seasons. Since the start of last term, no one has created more top-flight goals than his 22.

With 15 league games left and threats all over the pitch, the sense that Liverpool will not only become champions but also remain unbeaten grows stronger.

 
 

Wolves came as close as anybody had this season to beating them with what was a typically dynamic and rugged display, but ultimately, Klopp's men stood firm.

Their quality and resilience on this most testing of occasions was personified by their captain who, barring the most spectacular of collapses, will hoist their first league trophy in 30 years.

As Klopp went on to say about Henderson: "We couldn't be in this situation without this type of character."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2020, with the headline 'Klopp hails ‘genius Of Bobby''. Print Edition | Subscribe