Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side are looking more “tuned” to his methods than ever before after a thrilling added-time Champions League win over Paris St Germain extended their 100 per cent record with a sixth successive victory.
Substitute Roberto Firmino fired home the winner in the second minute of added time to make it 3-2 win, having been 2-0 up inside 36 minutes.
The Brazil international’s place on the bench was an enforced change for Klopp due to the eye injury he sustained at Tottenham on Saturday, with the only other alteration being captain Jordan Henderson coming in for Naby Keita.
Klopp has made very few alterations to his starting line-up this season but even when he does it is seamless.
“We look now much more tuned than it maybe was in the past,” he said.
“We played a midfield who played a lot of times last season together, that was the reason for that performance.
“It was clear that Hendo would come back and what a brilliant performance from him.
“Physically-wise, so good because obviously as we know that the players after the World Cup normally struggle a bit (but) he is ready now and that’s really important for us.
“We didn’t learn a lot which we didn’t know before, but it’s nice to see that we can do it. That’s it.”
Klopp’s replacement for Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, scored on his first Champions League start for the club he joined in 2013 to justify his manager’s faith.
“Great performance of Daniel,” added the Reds boss.
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino celebrates his late goal (Roberto Firmino/PA)
“The three in midfield did an outstanding job, but they only can do it when the two wingers in how we play and the number nine are helping in all these situations to keep the formation compact.
“It was fantastic. I said to Daniel before the game he is the best shape since I’ve known him, physically, and now he had to use it – and that’s what he did.”
For PSG manager Thomas Tuchel there was more late Anfield disappointment for a second successive time.
In 2016 he brought his Borussia Dortmund side to Merseyside in an Europa League quarter-final second leg and despite leading 4-2 with 24 minutes to go, Liverpool scored three times in a dramatic last-minute finish.
“This is Anfield, this is what they do.” was his blunt assessment.
“There wasn’t much space for Neymar. What Liverpool do very well is to close the space down in that number 10 area so our plan was to use the space down the wings and get our full-backs pushing on.
“We tried to play well. It’s not time for tactical analysis, it’s time to credit the mental strength we showed on the ball tonight.
“If you play at Anfield, for me it’s not a tactical game. It’s to play with confidence, to trust the players
“We expect a lot from our front three, and today was tough for them. We have to improve all over the field. For me, we need to improve our intensity in games like this. There’s time to improve.”