Liverpool's lead is insane, outstanding: Klopp

Liverpool substitute Sadio Mane rifling home to break the deadlock with what proved to be the match-winner against Norwich at Carrow Road in the Premier League on Saturday. It was his 100th goal in English football. PHOTO: REUTERS
Liverpool substitute Sadio Mane rifling home to break the deadlock with what proved to be the match-winner against Norwich at Carrow Road in the Premier League on Saturday. It was his 100th goal in English football.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has described his team's 25-point lead at the top of the Premier League as "insane" after Sadio Mane struck to give Liverpool a 1-0 win at storm-hit Norwich on Saturday.

The champions-elect were short of their fluent best in blustery conditions caused by Storm Dennis at Carrow Road but returned to winning ways after their winter break.

They have now gone 43 top-flight matches unbeaten, six behind Arsenal's record of 49 games in 2003-04, as they sprint towards their first league title for 30 years.

Liverpool have also secured Champions League qualification with 12 games to spare.

Klopp said the wind and Norwich's organisation made it a tricky game but that his players remained calm.

"I could tell in all the players' faces that they weren't nervous, they were enjoying it, and if one team were going to score, it was going to be us," he told Sky Sports.

"We protected against the counter-attack well too. It's really all about these wonderful football players.

"The gap is so insane, I don't really understand it. I'm not smart enough. I've not had that before. It's outstanding, it's so difficult."

Norwich manager Daniel Farke's men came close to snatching the lead but Liverpool managed to keep their 10th clean sheet in 11 league matches. In the 11 games before that, they had just one shutout.

 
 

In the first half, midfielder Lukas Rupp got in behind the Liverpool defence and controlled a long ball over the top. He opted to pass to his team's top scorer Teemu Pukki but Alisson produced a superb intervention, clawing the ball away from the feet of the Finnish striker.

"It was a must-goal," Farke said of the glaring chance. "Two-on-one on the keeper. We should have been a bit more tidy."

  • 10 Clean sheets Liverpool have kept in their last 11 Premier League games.

Norwich midfielder Alexander Tettey then struck the woodwork in the second half.

But that period was a Liverpool siege, with goalkeeper Tim Krul saving Norwich several times. The Dutchman first produced a fingertip save to keep out Naby Keita's powerful effort, then a magnificent double stop to deny Mohamed Salah and Keita again.

When it seemed Norwich could become only the second team this season, after Manchester United, to deny Liverpool all three points, Mane broke the deadlock.

 
 

The second-half substitute controlled a 78th minute long ball from captain Jordan Henderson with his right foot before lashing home with his left.

There was a suspicion the Senegalese had pushed a marker as he brought the ball down, but the video assistant referee ruled in his favour.

The result leaves Norwich rooted to the bottom of the table, six points behind 19th-placed Watford.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2020, with the headline 'Liverpool's lead is insane, outstanding: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe