No 'softening' as Liverpool keep record points chase on track
Klopp's men beat Brighton to move to 92 points, just eight behind Man City's 100-point mark, with four games left
|(Leandro Trossard 45)||(Mohamed Salah 6, 76, Jordan Henderson 8)|
Juergen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s desire not to ease up after clinching the English Premier League title as two goals from Mohamed Salah kept the Reds on course for a record points tally with a 3-1 win at Brighton on Thursday morning (July 9, Singapore time).
The champions move onto 92 points with three wins from their final four games enough to break Manchester City’s record of 100 points from two seasons ago.
“We are champions and it could be softening but it is not – the boys go with everything,” said Klopp. “We now have 92 points and last season we had 97! We got five points more than this last season – that’s unbelievable, I have no idea how we did that.”
Klopp’s men were quick off the mark with two goals in the first eight minutes to end a run of five games without a goal away from home either side of the coronavirus shutdown.
Brighton’s desire to play out from the back has been one of the hallmarks of Graham Potter’s first season in charge and the Seagulls look certain to meet their target of staying in the division with a nine-point cushion over the bottom three.
But the hosts were twice caught out by Liverpool’s press to leave themselves too much to do despite another promising performance.
“I saw two very good football teams tonight, both trying to play football,” added Klopp. “They had a brave formation and set-up, but we had a super solution for that. Our high press was outstanding.”
Salah remained in the hunt for a third Golden Boot in as many seasons as a Liverpool player as he slotted home Naby Keita’s cross to open the scoring.
Two minutes later, the Reds robbed possession again in the Brighton half and after Salah was held up, Jordan Henderson curled home a brilliant shot into the far corner for a rare goal in an inspirational season for the Liverpool captain.
However, Henderson later limped off with a knee injury that Klopp is concerned could end his season.
“We have to make scans but we know it is not nothing, so that is already enough,” said Klopp.
Rather than letting the floodgates open, Brighton showed impressive resolve to then take the game to their illustrious visitors.
Neco Williams made a brilliant block on his first EPL start to deny Leandro Trossard a quick reply before Alisson saved from Neal Maupay.
Brighton got their reward just before half-time when Trossard connected sweetly with Tariq Lamptey’s cross to halve the deficit.
"I asked them to play that way. The decision-making could be better but they showed personality to claw back into the game,” said Potter. “We tried to play, we went toe-to-toe and there were lots of positive performances for us.”
Dan Burn wasted a huge opportunity to bring the hosts level after the break as he failed to hit the target with the goal gaping.
Salah was more clinical when he headed home Andy Robertson’s corner at the near post for his 19th EPL goal of the season to move within three of Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.
But the Egyptian then missed two big chances in stoppage time for his third Liverpool hat-trick and to further cut Vardy’s lead at the top of the scoring charts as Mat Ryan flicked his first effort over the bar before Salah headed over with the final touch of the game. – AFP