Klopp pleased to see Liverpool squeeze past West Ham, extend winning run

Liverpool showed its battling qualities to rally from a 2-1 deficit and beat West Ham at Anfield, much to Jurgen Klopp's delight.

Jurgen Klopp praised Liverpool's attitude after the side had to "squeeze it" to get the better of West Ham in a five-goal thriller at Anfield.

The table-topping Reds went ahead early on through a Georginio Wijnaldum header, only for their struggling opponent to threaten an almighty upset.

After Issa Diop levelled just 174 seconds after the opening goal, substitute Pablo Fornals – who replaced the injured Tomas Soucek early in the second half – had West Ham ahead, the midfielder turning in Declan Rice's cross.

However, Lukasz Fabianski gifted the host an equaliser when he allowed Mohamed Salah's shot to squirm through his legs, with the goalkeeper then also caught out of position for Sadio Mane's 81st-minute winner.

"I liked a lot how we started. We scored a wonderful first goal, but then we weren't good in second-ball situations," Klopp told Sky Sports. "We struggled in this situation and that gave West Ham a good feeling.

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"They could win the second ball from the goal-kicks and for us that was difficult. We lost a little bit of patience in the first half in the things we did, offensively you could see this a little bit.

"They scored the second goal and I have to watch back how that happened. Then we were forced to stay calm and do the right stuff.

"All the goals we scored were strange. The best one we scored didn't count because Sadio was offside. But you have to squeeze it, and that's what we did tonight to get the three points. It is so special."

Klopp was pleased at how his team responded to adversity when 2-1 behind, allowing it to rally and clinch a record-equalling 18th straight Premier League win.

That tally matches the achievement of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side between August-December 2017, while the Reds are now just four victories away from clinching a first league title in 30 years.

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"The set-pieces brought us back tonight, getting the momentum back again – because we had a couple one after another," Klopp said. "You need to have different ways.

"There were so many things we could do better but to reach this number of games, you cannot be brilliant all the time. We just try to make the best of what we have.

"I am pleased with the attitude we showed. The crosses were a bit too hard from Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold but we had super situations, so all okay."

Ready for further battles

Klopp knows further struggles await his side, which has won 26 of its 27 Premier League games this season.

"Could I have wished for a better position to go into these last 11 games? No, I would never have thought it's possible," Klopp told a news conference.

"But each one of them is really difficult and we respect that a lot. We don't expect one easy game, nobody wants to go through easily, we just have to be ready for work and for hardest work and we were that tonight as a unit, together with the crowd again.

"I really love that fact and I couldn't appreciate it more, it's really special."

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While acknowledging Liverpool's incredible season, Klopp is keeping his players focused as they move closer to the title.

The German said his side must be prepared for another battle at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

"We all know that it's very special but in the moment we are really just in the situation and want to recover and want to prepare the next one because the next opponent is really waiting and wants to fight us," Klopp said.

"The whole stadium at Watford will go [after] us, it's completely normal, there will be a special atmosphere and we have to be 100 per cent ready.

"I saw the boys tonight, they are ready to fight, and as long as we are really ready to fight nobody should worry, but still a lot of work to do."