Having been unable to manage a win in their last three outings against Crystal Palace, Liverpool looked like they’d be adding to that unfortunate tally when Joe Ledley put the hosts ahead early in the second half and James Milner was handed his marching orders for a second yellow card, but the Reds pulled themselves level through Roberto Firmino after a horrible error from Eagles ‘keeper Alex McCarthy and Christian Benteke was on hand to slot home a last gasp penalty after being caught on the heel by a sliding Damien Delaney with mere seconds left to play.
“If you are behind it’s not so important why and how, the only thing is that the difference is not so big,” he told the BBC, looking pleased with himself following the final whistle. “We had to change the system and had to try to stay offensive,” he explained with the German having brought on Christian Benteke in the closing stages despite being down to ten men. “We knew it was risky but at the end we forced it and for us it is a great win.”
Eagles manager Alan Pardew may have been fuming following the final whistle with suggestions during his own post-match presser suggesting that the penalty call was harsh, but replays after the fact have left no doubt that contact was made between the two players. Benteke, who has been linked with a move away from Anfield this summer, was given a rare chance from the bench and he responded in kind by bagging his first goal of the calendar year.
“It was a perfect change, he really worked hard,” said Klopp when asked about the Belgian. “His first touch was a big chance and then it was his penalty. He made the move and forced the situation. It was a clear penalty and then he was pretty cool with the penalty,” added the Reds boss. “Football is a lot of things and sometimes it’s all about passion. What I saw today from my players, they defended with all they had and that’s good to see,” he enthused before shifting the spotlight to Firmino. “Sometimes you need a bit of luck. We forced it in a way because we were high in our formation,” mused the German, thrilled that his game plan worked out. “We were there, cool enough and scored the goal.”