Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp may have rested some of his star names for the Champions League clash against Porto at Anfield, yet a wonder goal from Thiago Alcantara sent his in-form team on their way to a 2-0 win.
he Spain midfielder swept away 14 months of frustration with one swing of his cultured right foot to set Liverpool on the way to a 2-0 victory over Porto and a record Champions League group stage points haul.
Thiago’s sweetly-struck low half-volley early in the second half was worthy of winning any game and the fact it came in a dead-rubber having already qualified for the last 16 should not diminish the quality of the goal as Jurgen Klopp found one word to describe the strike.
“Incredible,” he declared. “I see that in training, I know he has the technique to do it but you don’t always hit a thunderbolt like that.”
Thiago admitted he has been frustrated by his form and fitness levels during his time at Liverpool, as injuries have denied Liverpool fans the chance to see the best of him.
“I am glad and happy for the goal, in a moment for me it was important because I am coming back from injury and trying to raise the confidence,” he stated. “How the team played, how we created and defend, we are happy with the young and experienced guys.
“It has not been easy for me. For a number of reasons. I try to give my best for the team, I want to play for them. I am here for that and it is about having the games in a sequence with rhythm.”
Klopp also praised his team as they continued their perfect record in this season’s Champions League with a fifth straight win.
“It is so important, so many good things happened tonight,” he stated. “Players got minutes, rhythm, confidence, nobody got hurt, our head of rehab said give James Milner 15 minutes and he got 12 or 13. Jordan Henderson played, Andrew Robertson came on and the right players could get rested like Trent Alexander-Arnold, who should not play all the time.
“It was good, we could have done better and been more calm in the first half but we were a bit hectic. That is not unusual when you put a team out that has not played together a lot. Some people think we might play an easy game but we were not here for that, Anfield is sold out so we want to go for it.”
The Liverpool manager also clarified his comments after he suggested the African Nations Cup in January was a ‘little’ competition in his press conference on Tuesday, in what was viewed as a swipe and the importance of the event that will see him lose star men Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
“I didn’t call it a ‘little continent’,” he added, responding to an angry question from a reporter. “If you watch the full press conference you would understand. I said there’s no international break until March and there is a little tournament in January. I just meant it’s ironic. A big one, we lose our best players for the tournament.
“I am not a native speaker but if you want to misunderstand me you can do that all the time. I know I would never think like this. That was not my intention, but you made something more of it. That is not too cool, to be honest.”