Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits Alisson Becker's winner 'kept us in race' for Premier League top-four spot

Reds go into Wednesday's game against Burnley with momentum after goalkeeper's remarkable goal at West Brom

The first goal from a Liverpool goalkeeper in their 129-year history put their fate in their hands and suggested destiny is on their side.

Jurgen Klopp drew on his native tongue to argue that Alisson Becker’s 95th-minute header at West Bromwich Albion does not mean they are bound to return to the Champions League.

“One of the lessons I learned very early in my life is don’t celebrate the day before the night,” he said. It was, he said, a translation of a German phrase – "Den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben" – as Klopp sought to reframe Liverpool’s quest to finish in the top four.

It is less an inevitability, more something they have to earn, even if they now have the momentum, something that has propelled his team in the past.

Wins at Burnley on Wednesday and at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday should enable Liverpool to realise their ambitions.

“It doesn’t make the job easier at Turf Moor but it changed the mindset,” said Klopp. “It kept us in the race. It was a very special moment, a very special goal from a very special player.

"In the dressing room I have never watched a goal more often directly after the game than this goal. In this moment, it looked like it was meant to be but if we finish the season now we are fifth so that doesn't make too much sense. We only qualified for the semis.”

Even that feels an achievement. Liverpool’s recent run has been camouflaged by their exit from the Champions League and their involvement in European Super League.

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The late equalisers they conceded to Leeds and Newcastle felt the blows that would finish them off. But added-time winners from Trent Alexander-Arnold against Aston Villa and Alisson at the Hawthorns form part of a revival.

Liverpool have taken 20 points from eight games. Before their victory at Wolves, they were closer on points to Crystal Palace and Wolves than Chelsea. “The situation changed in our direction with a number of results,” Klopp said. “Four, five or six weeks ago no one would have imagined we could get that close but being close is not being there.”

Liverpool’s season has been an obstacle course, the hurdles provided in part by a freakish collection of injuries and featuring the historic low of six consecutive home defeats. Klopp still has a small cast list, even if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in contention on Wednesday, James Milner might be and there is a “tiny little chance” that Diogo Jota will be able to feature on Sunday.

But Klopp feels they are coping with adversity better. “The season was a proper teacher on how to deal with setbacks and we learned, so missing chances in the last few games did not have the same impact that it had before,” he said. “That is the main difference. The form of players came in the right moment. Results always help. We are seeing the finishing line.”

Thiago Alcantara has produced the best form of his Liverpool career. “What he did in these moments is absolutely incredible,” Klopp said.

Mohamed Salah has scored in five of those eight league games, taking his tally to 31 for the season. He celebrated Alisson’s winner more euphorically than most of his, but if it answered questions about his future, Klopp added: “I was never in doubt about his love for his team-mates or the club, not for one second.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold has emerged as a leader. “He played with round 20-odd different centre-half pairings which is just tricky,” his manager said. “But Trent made another step in his career.” For Liverpool, the task is to make two more steps.

Updated: May 19, 2021 02:15 PM

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