Klopp thrilled by Liverpool's 'world class' response to going behind
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Klopp thrilled by Liverpool's 'world class' response to going behind

Arsenal took a shock lead at Anfield before hosts rallied and blew them away

David Comerford

Jurgen Klopp was delighted by the strength of character Liverpool showed after conceding first in their emphatic 5-1 victory against Arsenal.

Liverpool went into the game as overwhelming favourites but fell behind when Ainsley Maitland-Niles tapped in on 11 minutes.

Their response, though, was worthy of champions. Within five minutes, Roberto Firmino had turned the tables through a quickfire double, and subsequent strikes from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah had effectively decided the game before the break.

Firmino then completed his hat-trick in the second half to put the gloss on a magnificent win.

"The response was world class," Klopp said. "We stayed clam and really forced the mistakes. Bobby’s [Firmino] second when Sadio [Mane] won the ball. Wow.

"It’s clear it was a wide game. We were really good and did exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to press them and cut off their build up.

"They pressed us as well so it was wild. But then when you get the ball you need to calm down.

"Overall 5-1 against Arsenal doesn’t happen too often so I’m really happy with the boys."

Klopp touched by Salah gesture

Last year's runaway top scorer Salah faces much sterner competition for the Golden Boot this time around, but still he allowed Firmino, eyeing the match ball, to take over penalty duties at 4-1.

Klopp, who places a great emphasis on team spirit, says he was moved by the Egyptian's selflessness.

"Mo Salah gave the penalty to Bobby and I almost cried because we all know how much Mo wants to score goals. It was really nice.

A very happy New Year at Anfield

Liverpool will be at least seven points clear at the top of the Premier League at the start of 2019, having stolen a march on their rivals over the festive period.

And while Klopp remains reluctant to discuss the title race, he hailed the 'big step' taken by his side over the last 12 months.

"Not too bad," was his summary.

"The boys have made a big step but it’s important to show it’s a positive process. In 2018 I have nothing to moan about."