Liverpool have finally learnt how to “win ugly” – and it could just deliver a Champions’ League place.
That was the view from manager Jurgen Klopp, after a fighting comeback victory from his side against Burnley, that was short on quality, but for once delivered a vital three points.
Despite rarely getting out of second gear, Giorginio Wijnaldum levelled an Ashley Barnes opener on the stroke of half time, and then Emre Can slapped a winner from 22 yards, to leave Klopp proclaiming:
“The result is massive for us – it was the first ugly game we’ve won, when we are not that good we usually lose. We are not used to winning when not playing well yet, so it feels a bit strange!
“We usually win the good games, but for the average games and the bad games we need to be challenging too, and here we were. Our mentality is not the issue, it is a question of confidence.
“If we want to stay where we are (in the top four) then we need to win football games, and we can not make a choice and say ‘yes or no we want to play this way’. You need to be ready for both, and we were ready today.”
Wijnaldum was the difference between the sides with the crucial equaliser and then an assist for Can’s winner, and he admitted the Reds were fortunate to take all three points:
“We were better in the second half but we were also a bit lucky; previous games we played like this we lost, but then we didn’t have the fighting spirit.
“At this stage of the season it’s better to collect points no matter how. It was difficult after they scored so early but we tried to fight and do everything to win the game.”
Jordan Henderson was again missing through injury, and Klopp ruled him out of the England squad named on Thursday that will face Germany and Lithuania.
“No chance – there will be no game in this time (for him). He cannot train, for sure he cannot play against Manchester City. Hopefully he can run in the second week of the international break and then we will have to see.”