Jürgen Klopp was effusive in his praise for an ‘exceptional’ Liverpool performance that resulted in a 5-0 victory over Watford at Anfield.

The Reds maintained their one-point advantage at the top of the Premier League with a convincing win against Javi Gracia’s team, which was kick-started by Sadio Mane’s ninth-minute header.

An impudent backheel from Mane, a centre-forward for the evening, doubled the lead soon after, and Divock Origi – who started with Roberto Firmino ruled out due to injury – powered in a third at the Kop end with 66 minutes on the clock.

A late headed brace from Virgil van Dijk then rounded off an outstanding display from Klopp’s side.

Read on for a transcript of the boss’ post-match press conference…

On whether he was delighted with his team’s work…

Yes, I am, of course. It was exactly the game we wanted. But let’s start like this, in a game you win 5-0 and everyone has performed on a really, really high level and still you have to say both centre-halves played defensively and outstanding game and the goalkeeper had to make two outstanding saves, then you see the quality of the opponent. All the rest in the game was exceptional. The crosses were the most obvious thing because they were really brilliant, but positioning in the box and heading, all the other things, the runs, the direction, the desire, the composure… what can I say? Tomorrow is another day and we have to deal with all the things, but today, for today, it was really a fantastic football game. I am really happy for the boys because they deserve it so much. We drew against Bayern and against United and everyone talks about – I don’t know exactly what – different things, which I don’t really understand. It is always about showing reactions, but not reactions on the things being talked about. We want to play like this every day and that’s maybe sometimes possible and sometimes a bit less, but you have to be stable. The boys were always stable and tonight we were stable and really fluent offensively, so it’s good – a very good example of how football should look. So, let’s try to do it again and again.

On what he thought of Mane’s second goal…

The second one? I didn’t see it! I saw he got the cross but then a player was in my view! It was obviously the backheel; I heard about it but I didn’t see it yet, sorry! But I loved the first one as well, jumping that high. In a new position, the whole game how he played, come on, in that position it was just exceptional. It was clear he would help us in all the build-up situations because he is this kind of footballer, but we needed him in the box as well. Being there then twice in really good positions – at least twice, and for sure more often. It was a very good situation when Mo came from the right side, Foster touched it onto the post end then Sadio was really close to scoring a third one. How Mo played, come on that was unbelievable! He was pretty much unplayable tonight. In a game without scoring, I think this kind of performance is exceptional. Divock, defending for him, obviously he is not a natural on the wing, but he did it. Offensively he was constantly a threat, he was involved, he scored a fantastic goal. Both full-backs flying down the wings, all in midfield flexible, good passes, very aggressive, really involved in all the things, coming in the half-spaces. It was just an all-round top performance, so I am really happy. The boys who came on were really good and helped so much, so that’s all good and all really deserved.

On Manchester City beating West Ham United and the title race…

I only heard it was 1-0, that’s what I heard. I don’t think you need an answer from me, we only think about what we can do. We have to play football and win games then we will see what happens. It is not I go in the dressing room and someone tells me the [Man City] result and I have a heart attack. It is just a normal thing if you are top of the table it is pretty likely the contenders all win. That’s the only advantage you have when you fight for staying in the league because the other teams lose a bit more often than in our fight. I didn’t think about it, but it is what I expected.

On Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performance, which featured three assists, after he was an unused substitute at Old Trafford…

He didn’t play on Sunday [but] I don’t think about last games. A colleague of yours asked me if it is because of his performance in his last game against Manchester United [last season] and I really had to think: ‘What was that? Ah, the Rashford incident.’ Trent was injured, played a game and then it was clear we have to make a decision, can he play three games in a week? We were not sure and that’s why he didn’t play against United, that was the only reason. So now it was clear he would play today, he was rested and could start and he played an outstanding football game. And obviously he is fit, if you see how he was chasing back in all the counter-attacks of them and was involved in pretty much each offensive situation… it was a brilliant performance. The crosses – the first corner was not exactly how we wanted to have it, it was pretty flat and we wanted to have it higher, but all the rest crossing-wise was just outstanding. I don’t say it was easy to finish with these situations, but the crosses made it easier at least.

On Van Dijk’s brace…

It’s massive when the big boy is jumping that high and finishing off like that. It’s difficult for Virg because the refs allow a lot in these box challenges with him. Defensively they try and block him out, offensively they tried everything to keep him away from the ball actually. It helps a lot having the second or third threat around him because he is very often not marked but stopped, or whatever you can say. And now coming in these moments, being there, was really, really nice to see and of course the crowd enjoys it. Goal numbers three and four for Liverpool: Everton and Wolves and then these two, so that’s good. But I enjoyed all the goals, how it happened. I’m happy.

On Mane being deployed in a central attacking role…

It was the first idea, the first thought, and we didn’t change it. In that position you need someone who is able to play in the small space, who can give you as well offers in behind, who adapts to the defensive situation, who is football-smart, all that stuff. We have other players who can play there but not in combination of the speed of Sadio, obviously. Sadio played different positions in his life and for us as well, so I was in no doubt that he would play there. How he did it then when he came off with Adam in this advanced position, that is something that can work as well, with Daniel it can work as well of course, but for tonight we thought that was the solution. It was the first and last [solution].

On whether he was surprised as how well Mane played in the position…

Scoring-wise of course, performance-wise not. That’s what we expect, that he plays like this, that he offers these things. You don’t train when you play Sunday and Wednesday obviously. We still did yesterday something but it was very, very low intensity. But we could show him at least where we want him to go, where we need him to run and yes, he did it better than we expected of course because who can expect two goals from a player? But the performance, I am not surprised. That’s Sadio’s level.

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