Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepts luck has played a part in their rise to title contenders but stressed the job the players have done should not be under-estimated.
His side snatched a 2-1 win over Tottenham thanks to a 90th-minute Toby Alderweireld own goal to move back to the top of the Premier League – two points clear of Manchester City, who have a match in hand.
Late drama. Huge result. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/3qwRpUu8wo
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 31, 2019
Mohamed Salah’s header was palmed back into the six-yard area by Hugo Lloris and Alderweireld diverted it back past his goalkeeper.
It was Liverpool’s 33rd winning goal in the 90th minute or later in Premier League history, which is eight more than any other side, and Klopp was asked if it was “fate” for Liverpool to win the title.
“I don’t go that far but if you go through the season of other teams, you will find these moments as well,” said Klopp.
“I told the boys after the game, there are 500,000 different ways to win a football game and it was rather ugly.
“No problem, we take that. Without a bit of luck you cannot be in the position we are in. It’s not possible.
“The boys work so hard, I think they deserve a bit of luck. For all the points we have now, we worked really hard.
“It is not important when you score but what it is on the scoresheet afterwards. Momentum is not a coincidence, it is something you take, you keep and you use. That helped obviously.
— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) March 31, 2019
“Nine months ago, we started this mission, this ride, and wanted to go for the highest stakes in two competitions. We did it our way. The boys improved so much.
“We have to find a way to win games much more often than in the past. Until now it worked. It is all good.
“The boys work hard and if we would be first of the table after the last match of season, it would be a championship of will. We want it. We get used to situations, bit by bit, a bit better.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, serving a touchline ban in the stands, was philosophical after seeing his side come close to what could have been only a second victory in 25 league matches at Anfield.
It does, though, leave them in a battle for a top-four spot having been considered title contenders less than two months ago.
“In football, sometimes you deserve to win, like us, and you don’t win,” he said.
“Sometimes, in another game, it happens the same, maybe we won when we didn’t deserve too much. That is football.
“I am very disappointed but in the same time, it is difficult to explain, I am proud of the performance.
“We bounced back, the second half is the way you want to play and that feeling you need if you want to be a real contender.
“Liverpool and City are fighting for the title. it is a shame we are not close. We were but in the last few weeks we find our reality, our place. We are disappointed but knowing realistically we must be happy.
“We have a mini-league now, seven games, it’s in our hands to be in the top four and Champions League next season.
“We are in the (Champions League) quarter-finals and we will fight with Man City to be in the semi-final.”