LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is well-known for his exuberant goal celebrations and manic behaviour on the touchline but the German surpassed himself on Sunday as his side claimed a thrilling 4-3 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Klopp was left in almost disbelief as his side, who had led 3-0 after 15 minutes, were pegged back to 3-3 when Tottenham’s former Everton striker Richarlison headed past Alisson in the third minute of stoppage time.
One minute later, however, Diogo Jota scored Liverpool’s winner and a delirious Klopp raced down the touchline before pulling up sharply with what looked like a hamstring injury.
He was also booked for his trouble.
“I’m not sure if it’s the hamstring it could be the adductor but I got punished. Little sins immediately,” Klopp said.
“The hamstring or whatever the muscle gave up in that moment. That’s fair. Apart from that, all okay.”
A fourth successive league win pushed Liverpool into fifth place although their hopes of a top-four finish are still slender as they trail Manchester United and Newcastle by seven and nine points respectively having also played a game more than Manchester United.
They seem well-placed to at least qualify for the Europa League, although Klopp would prefer that his side show more game-management than on Sunday when they inexplicably allowed a crumbling Tottenham side to come back.
“Second half the game is open because they started believing or kept believing,” Klopp said of Sunday’s clash.
“We opened the door for them and it looked like we pushed them through a little bit as well.”
Asked whether his side can still gatecrash the top four, Klopp was dismissive and suggested that they still have to fear eighth-placed Brighton and Hove Albion who would be right in the mix for the top six if they win their games in hand.
“Of course not. If United and Newcastle wins all the games then how can we get there? If they start losing them we are close. Until then we have to win football games to qualify for Europe at all,” Klopp said.
“Brighton played one of the best football games this weekend I’ve ever seen in my life, I have to say, Roberto De Zerbi, wow. Aston Villa are developing. If we can keep them behind us that will already be success.”
Brighton beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 6-0 and are four points behind Liverpool with two games in hand.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)