Champions League

Klopp hails Salah, Mane after Porto thrashing

2018-02-15 09:15
Sadio Mane (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Jurgen Klopp hailed his Liverpool side for a complete performance after they virtually assured a place in the last eight of the Champions League with an incredible 5-0 first-leg win at Porto.

Sadio Mane was the hero with a superb hat-trick as the Reds ran riot in Portugal, but Klopp was also quick to praise his defence, the subject of plenty criticism in recent times.

"Absolutely. We defended really well and that was important," said Klopp. "All the midfielders were fantastic and most important the three boys up front helped us. They did it in an outstanding manner.

"Porto is top of the league and you are not top of the league if you don't play football. They have clear movements, they know what to do in each moment, offensive-orientated team so defending really important. Both centre-halves and full-backs, really spot on."

Goal-scoring sensation Mohamed Salah and his strike partner Roberto Firmino grabbed the other goals, but Klopp was very happy for Mane to get the matchball this time, as the Senegalese had been struggling for form.

"He gave the right answer,” Klopp said. "I said to him after the last game 'finally, you are back'."

"After the game we met on the pitch and tonight he showed it again. 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% 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.”

He also praised Salah as the Egyptian hit-man netted his 30th goal of the season, making him only the 13th Liverpool player to reach the 30-goal in a season landmark.

Only George Allan back in 1896 has reached 30 goals faster.

"Obviously at this big club, if somebody is the second quickest and the quickest was long ago that makes it more exciting so congratulations, but hopefully it won't stop,” said Klopp.

"He played a good season, I recognise that already but it's very important for us. Each goal was kind of a winner. That's important tonight.

"We spoke a lot about Mo in the last few weeks, completely deserved. Sadio had his comeback  tonight, and Roberto was there again after outstanding work rate again, so it was good."

Read more on:    liverpool  |  champions league  |  sadio mane  |  soccer

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