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Klopp downplays Mane problem after referencing ‘late decision’ behind Liverpool forward’s public show of dissent

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp attempted to smooth over any lingering issues after star forward Sadio Mane expressed his unhappiness moments after the full-time whistle.

Liverpool secured a crucial victory over bitter rivals Man Utd at Old Trafford for the first time since March, 2014. The hosts took the lead, but Liverpool’s heads did not drop. Roberto Firmino led the charge, netting a timely brace either side of half time.

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Man Utd fought back mid-way through the second half, but Liverpool’s defence stood firm, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nat Phillips in particular putting in inspired performances.

Mohamed Salah sealed the victory late on with a classic trademark break, with the three points thrusting Liverpool firmly into the mix for fourth spot.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Klopp said: “Great fight, good game, intense – all derbies should be – and my first win at Old Trafford. Good timing I would say. We needed it. We deserved it. All good.

MATCH REPORT: Firmino leads top four charge, as Liverpool sink Man Utd in chaotic six-goal thriller

“Top goals. We reacted really well to their goal. We were unlucky in that moment. Bruno Fernandes, we let him go inside. It was unlucky in the centre but the defending in that moment was not good.

“We didn’t do that well in the first 15 minutes but then we got control and we could play the way we wanted to play.

“It was good. All good performances. Our two centre-halves were a little shaky at the beginning of the game with passes but then did a really good game. Trent was in proper shape tonight and played pretty much everything.

“They couldn’t chip the ball through to Bruno Fernandes any more and step by step we got control of the game.

“It was of course tricky at 3-2 but we scored that fourth goal. We needed that. It was very intense. I really thought the midfield played outstanding well. When Curtis Jones came on he helped a lot. It was good.”

Sadio Mane vented his frustration seemingly at the decision to bench him at the full-time whistle by refusing to shake Klopp’s hand.

Attempting to smooth over any potential fall out, the German said: “No there’s no problem. Yesterday I made a late decision in training to go with Diogo Jota. I would usually explain it but there was no time for that. It is all fine.”

On top four hopes: “We are still in the game, in the race. That is all we could have done tonight. It is very intense. We have to recover quickly and go again.

“We played a good game and did good enough to win so obviously we did a lot of right stuff tonight.”

Phillips “never worried” despite early calamity

Liverpool defender Nat Phillips also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “It was a rollercoaster. It was a strange game. It was an ugly match but we had to make it that way at the end to make sure we got the result. It was a big night for us.

“I think we started quite slow. We knew we still had an extra gear. I didn’t feel too worried. It was just a matter of time before we started playing the way we could do. To come from behind is always difficult.

“I reacted too late [to Man Utd’s opener]. I thought it was going wide at first then I saw it start to curl inwards. It’s one of those things.”

On it not being an own goal: “That is good news. I am pleased to hear that!”

Regarding Liverpool’s resurgent top four hopes, the centre-half added: “It takes us closer. It’s another three points. It’s no secret what our objective is and that’s to win all our remaining games. We can enjoy it tonight but focus is on the next game.

“We can’t look away from our camp. We can’t have an effect on that. We have to concentrate on doing our jobs. It’s something to build on and learn from. We need to take confidence from it.”

READ MORE: Midfielder ‘finished’ at Liverpool and has ‘played last game for Klopp’

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