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Klopp praises PERFECT Liverpool display against Porto and reveals Mane quality
- Updated: February 15, 2018
JURGEN KLOPP has hailed Liverpool’s perfect night in the Champions League, and insisted their qualities shone through against Porto.
Liverpool have all but booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 5-0 thrashing away to Porto in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Sadio Mane grabbed a hat-trick to become only the second Liverpool player to score a treble away from home in Europe with Michael Owen being the only other former Anfield star to achieve that feat back in 2002.
While the Anfield outfit’s defence has been continually criticised this term, Klopp had little to moan about. When asked whether the display was perfect, Klopp said: “You can say that. It was very professional, very mature and – in the right moments – very aggressive.
“Good defending, good counter-attacking. I saw a lot of fantastic performances.
“Of course, Sadio is man of the match, three fantastic goals, but they all did well and that is the only way to be successful.”
Mane, who is starting to reproduce the form of last season, was the difference maker and Klopp was keen to highlight his display. “I said to him [Mane] after the last game, ‘Finally you’re back’.
“Tonight he showed it again what a fantastic player he is, he always is.
“He was always important, he was always fantastic for us even in his ‘not-that-good’ moments.
“That’s real quality. If you are not at 100 per cent but still involved in goals that’s really important.
“Then it will come, if you keep working really hard like he did.
“The first was a little lucky, but the other two – the second one was about being in the right place and he used his fantastic skills on the third one so it’s good, really good. I’m happy about it.”
In the group stages, Liverpool blew a 3-0 lead against Sevilla, but Klopp insists lessons were learned.
He continued: “It’s not that we forgot about it. You always have it a little bit; I don’t mention it anymore but I know everybody thinks about it.
“We don’t talk about it to avoid this situation – we talk about what we want to do in the second half.
“It was clear if we defended as we defended in the first half, or even better, then there would be moments we can use.
“So win the second half is the plan with the same tools, the same things to do in the right moment.
“Of course, it’s part of our history, unfortunately, it was not too important in the end because we came through the group, but it was quite spectacular and it’s still a little bit in our mind, that’s true.
“But now a few times already we could deal with it really well and that will be on our mind as well.”
Despite steering Liverpool to a resounding win, Mane, who was Man of the Match, insists the game wasn’t as easy as the scoreline suggested.
He said: “It was not an easy game even though we scored five goals – but the third one of my hat-trick was my favourite. It was a nice strike.
“Everybody is always talking about three players [Mane, Salah and Firmino] but without the whole team we are nothing.”