Jürgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s 4-2 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford was “exactly what we needed” to keep alive their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Liverpool are fifth on 60 points with a game in hand on Chelsea, who are four ahead, and Leicester, on 66. As the latter two play each other on Tuesday one or both will drop points meaning if Liverpool win their last three games – West Brom, Burnley, Crystal Palace – and improve their goal difference above that of Chelsea and Leicester they will finish in the top four.
“It was exactly what we needed in this situation,” Klopp said. “We are in a situation where we are under some pressure and need to win the games to have a chance. We came here to play a team in form. We are still in the game, in the race [for the top four]. That is all we could have done tonight.
“It is very intense – we have to recover quickly and go again. We played a good game and did well enough to win so obviously we did a lot of right stuff tonight.”
After a second United fan protest against the Glazer ownership, two goals from Roberto Firmino plus one each from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah were answered only by Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford as Liverpool won for a first time at United since March 2014.
At the end Sadio Mané refused to shake Klopp’s hand as they walked off. “No there’s no problem,” the manager said. “Yesterday I made a late decision in training to go with Diogo Jota [in the XI]. I would usually explain it but there was no time for that.”
United know victory against the visiting Fulham next Tuesday will seal second place in the Premier League, though Ole Gunnar Solskjær was concerned as his team again conceded sloppy goals – from set-pieces or when playing out from the back. “We can do so much better,” he said.
The United midfielder Fred was the subject of a racist slur on social media after the match, the latest incident in a season marred by similar abuse towards players.